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Massive New Firth of Forth Span Opens

Thursday, August 31, 2017

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After years of construction and more recent weather-related delays, the Queensferry Crossing is open as of 2 a.m. Wednesday (Aug. 30), connecting Scotland’s Edinburgh and Fife.

The newly opened bridge was christened with long wait times and a broken-down lorry, all preceded by an early-morning procession of cars that followed police vehicles to mark the special occasion. After the inaugural events are over, the bridge will open up to regular traffic on Thursday (Aug. 31).

The initial congestion on the bridge has been partially ascribed to drivers wanting to cross on opening day, noted Traffic Scotland. Over the weekend, Queensferry Crossing was only open to foot traffic, but on Thursday (Aug. 31), it is open to vehicular traffic only.

The Queensferry Crossing

The 1.7-mile, $1.74 billion span is the third bridge to cross the Firth of Forth, and is slated to carry 65,000 vehicles a day, totaling 24 million vehicles a year. Upheld by 23,000 miles of cable and sitting at 689 feet high, the bridge is Britain’s tallest.

Queensferry Crossing is also expected to last 120 years, but with proper maintenance it can last up to 150, Mike Glover, the bridge’s chief engineer, told The Guardian. Initially, there will be a 40 mile per hour crossing speed to account for driver distraction. After a couple of weeks, the speed will be raised to 70 miles per hour, a more regular motorway speed, which also helps accommodate the crossing serving as an extension for the M90.

The bridge is also equipped with screens to help alleviate wind pressure on passing vehicles, which, in turn, would help reduce the likelihood of the bridge being closed due to high winds—a problem that has plagued the Forth Road Bridge. On top of this, with only the use of two joints, in comparison to the Forth Bridge’s 100, there is a significant reduction in noise.

Despite the initial wait times, there is also projected to be less congestion in the area, especially with the Queensferry eventually allowing for motorway speeds.

“That's when you get to the real advantages, in terms of reduced journey times, and also when you have that division of traffic between the two bridges, with public transport going on one bridge and all other traffic on the other bridge,” Keith Brown, the Economy Minister of Scotland, told the Telegraph.

Crossing History

The proposal for the Queensferry Crossing came into being after an inspection of the Forth Road Bridge in 2004 revealed corrosion along the span’s main cables. From 2006 to 2007, the Forth Replacement Crossing Study was conducted to discover options for replacing the old bridge.

In December 2007, Scottish Ministers announced the construction of a new cable-stayed bridge to the west of the Forth Road Bridge, to be completed by 2016. The schedule was established in order to account for future weight restrictions that were predicted for the old bridge.

In 2016, before the bridge was completed, its center span briefly held the record for the world's longest freestanding balanced cantilever; once the span was connected to the towers, the title no longer applied.

The Forth Road Bridge now only carries buses, pedestrians and cyclists, allowing the span to be retained for continued use even as the new bridge opens.

Forth Bridge

In light of the construction of the Queensferry Crossing, the Forth Bridge, another span that crosses the same river estuary but is separate from the Forth Road Bridge, has been marked as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The 1.5-mile cantilever bridge, which includes two 1,700-foot-long cantilever spans that are the second longest in the world, has carried rail traffic across the Firth of Forth between South Queensferry and North Queensferry for more than 125 years. Its construction required 54,000 tons of steel and 140,000 cubic yards of masonry, according to an account authored by Wilhelm Westhofen.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Construction; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Infrastructure; Program/Project Management

Comment from Simon Hope, (8/31/2017, 3:50 AM)

WOW a new bridge with traffic jams even worse than the old one!! only been opened as a sop to the politicians to save face as it will probably have to be shut again soon to complete all the outstanding works!!

Comment from ROBERT LEE, (9/1/2017, 6:54 AM)

This site is called "Paint Square" where is the paint tie in? Google Hempel Queensferry Crossing.

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