Ministers face hail of criticism after Crossing shut
Queensferry Crossing: traffic was diverted because of ice
Commuters faced more chaos today when falling ice forced the closure of the Queensferry Crossing – the bridge that was built with a promise it could withstand all weather conditions.
Both lanes were closed this morning a year after ice sensors were installed that were supposed to solve the problem.
The Scottish government was facing a hail of criticism after the latest fiasco around the £1.3bn Crossing, connecting Edinburgh and Fife. It re-opened after being shut for over four hours.
Infrastructure and Transport secretary Michael Matheson claimed lessons had been learned from last winter when motorists reported ice falling and damaging their vehicles.
Ahead of the Crossing reopening today, Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland’s south east unit bridges manager, said it had been closed “due to ongoing adverse weather conditions.”
He added: “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to road users by this closure.”
The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic in August 2017 amid accusations that the opening was rushed to meet a deadline and avoid political embarrassment.
Its construction included 3.5 metre high barriers designed to ensure the bridge would not be closed by high winds.
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser, who represents Mid Scotland and Fife said: “Yet again a lack of foresight by the Scottish Government has led to the Queensferry Crossing being closed due to ice, resulting in utter chaos for almost half of Scotland.
“I understand ice sensors were fitted on the bridge but they don’t solve the problem. The Scottish Government should have looked at the bigger picture and carried out what they have done in other countries.
“They should have looked at other measures to stop this happening, such as fitting heated cables to the bridge.
“I have said before that all this should have been done before the Queensferry Crossing opened to the public.
“Now we have this shambolic situation where bridge operators are having to close it almost every time it is icy, leading to motorists and lorries having to take lengthy detour routes – it is not good enough and needs addressed immediately.”
Forth Road Bridge to be re-used
Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton welcomed the government’s decision to extend use of the Forth Road Bridge to all traffic in instances when the Queensferry Crossing is closed due to the danger presented by ice build up.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “It’s really important we protect this major transport route, especially for key workers who need to get through in icy periods.
“The Forth Road Bridge is not overstretched and it’s right that it’s put to use to keep the country running.
“I share the government’s commitment to protect the Forth Road Bridge as a public transport corridor and it should only be open to cars when the Queensferry Crossing has to shut.
Longer term we need to see this government come forward with a viable, permanent solution to the ice problem. This is the first day of snow this winter and major transport arteries were ground to a halt.”