Transport Scotland wins award for Queensferry Crossing despite bridge setback

Transport Scotland has won an award for its work on the new Queensferry Crossing just days after announcing up to 10 months of extra works on the bridge.
Works have been suspended on Queensferry Crossing due to the weather. Picture: Lisa Ferguson:Works have been suspended on Queensferry Crossing due to the weather. Picture: Lisa Ferguson:
Works have been suspended on Queensferry Crossing due to the weather. Picture: Lisa Ferguson:

The organisation that oversaw construction of the £1.35 billion bridge was honoured at last night’s fourth Annual Scottish Public Service Awards held at the Scottish Parliament.

The team’s work on the Queensferry Crossing earned it the Project and Programme Management Award, which recognises excellence in project, programme and portfolio management.

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But the award is likely to anger some critics, with Transport Scotland having confirmed only a fortnight ago that “snagging” issues may not be finished on the bridge until September next year.

More lane restrictions will be needed to complete resurfacing works.

Contractors were unable to complete what was needed last week with weather forcing the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, which had been reopened to allow for the improvements on the Queensferry Crossing to be carried out.

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Transport Scotland structure director Michelle Rennie previously confirmed the road surface around the bridge’s expansion joints had been laid too high.

She claimed the problem had been known about before the £1.35bn bridge opened in August, but a solution was only devised two weeks ago.

“The snagging issue is not due to the joints, but the level of surfacing around the joints,” Ms Rennie said.

“It was laid marginally too high.

“That’s a workmanship issue. It’s the road surfacing at fault.

“The surfaces were not laid to the tolerances set out in the design.

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“There is concern about the impact of use of the road at 70mph on the joints.”

Last month’s announcement triggered calls the bridge’s opening had been rushed.

Scottish Labour transport spokesman Neil Bibby said: “Transport Scotland has known about these faults for months and they have chosen to keep that information from the public.

“Road users found out about carriageway closures at the last minute and officials have confirmed there are more closures to come.

“The SNP transport minister must give a full explanation and account for his handling of the project.

“Either the SNP knew about this fault and choose to keep it quiet or they didn’t, which demonstrates yet again their gross mismanagement of major infrastructure projects.”

The Scottish Public Service Awards celebrate outstanding achievement within Scotland’s civic landscape.

Craig Killough, vice-president of the Organisations Relations for Project Management Institute, said: “Transport Scotland has demonstrated excellent project management strategies to ensure that its government projects operate smoothly.

“Their projects have made a significant and lasting impact on Scottish residents and that is why we congratulate them on receiving the well-deserved Project and Programme Management Award.”