Queensferry Crossing fury

Matheson ‘too slow’ to install ice sensors at troubled bridge

Bridge-Queensferry-Crossing

Queensferry Crossing: hit by icy weather

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson has been accused of being too slow to install ice sensors that may have averted this week’s closure of the Queensferry Crossing.

The bridge reopened at 10:45am on Wednesday after businesses and commuters faced another morning of diversions and long delays and the Scottish Tories said Mr Matheson had dismissed the risk of ice forming as “extremely rare”.

The Tories said they had pressed the minister a number of times on the absence of sensors after three vehicles had their windscreens smashed by falling ice last March. This week a further eight motorists reported similar damage.

When asked in November why the sensors had not been installed, Mr Matheson responded: “Incidents like the one on the Queensferry Crossing in March 2019 are extremely rare. Meanwhile, our contractors have developed processes to ensure continued driver safety in the intervening period.”

In early December, in response to another question from the Tory benches, the minister said: “Traffic management will be implemented to facilitate ice clearance, and road users will be alerted in advance to minimise disruption.”

However, the crossing had to be closed on Monday night as Storm Ciara swept across the country. There were assurances that it could withstand high winds, but no such guarantees were given for ice clinging to the cables.

Businesses and commuters expressed fury that sufficient safeguards were not built into the £1 billion structure which opened in 2017.

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