Forth Bridges Special Project
Transport Scotland is committed to safeguarding transport links across the Forth. Once the Queensferry Crossing is complete, three iconic bridges, spanning three centuries will make the Firth of Forth between North and South Queensferry a unique location.
Designed and built by William Arrol, the Forth Bridge was completed in November 1889 and opened in March 1890.
The Bridge was the greatest example of its type and still holds the record for the world's longest multi-span cantilever bridge, whilst its distinctive profile is recognised the world over and internationally regarded both as an icon of Scotland and a symbol of engineering prowess.
Today, the Forth Bridge is a vital part of the country's transport infrastructure. Carrying well over 200 trains daily, it transports 6 million passengers each year as well as a large amount of freight traffic.
Network Rail operate and maintain the bridge. In July 2015 the Forth Bridge was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Forth Road Bridge (FRB) was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh on 4 September 1964.
It replaced the ferry service that existed between North and South Queensferry which dates back to the 11th Century when it was used to transport religious pilgrims from Edinburgh to Dunfermline Abbey and St Andrews.
The Forth Road Bridge is one of the world’s most significant long span suspension bridges and carries similarities to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Amey Highways Limited manage and maintain the FRB on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
A computer generated image of how the three bridges will appear
The Queensferry Crossing is under construction and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2016. It will be a cable-stayed bridge with three slender single column towers and will be 2.7km long, including approach viaducts. The road carried by the bridge will have motorway designation.
The Queensferry Crossing bridge deck will carry two general lanes of traffic in each direction and hard shoulders to ensure that breakdowns, incidents and any maintenance works do not cause the severe congestion which is currently experienced on the Forth Road Bridge (FRB).
The hard shoulders also provide the flexibility to carry buses displaced from the FRB during periods of high wind and other forms of public transport should it be required in the future.
Windshielding on the new bridge will protect the crossing from the effects of wind and provide a more reliable corridor, particularly for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs).
See the Forth Replacement Crossing project for more information.
To ensure that the future of these bridges is secure, the Forth Bridges Special Project team is involved in the following tasks:
- The Forth Bridges Forum
- The Forth Bridge's UNESCO World Heritage Site Nomination Steering Group
- The Forth Road Bridge Act 2013
- Procurement of a Forth Bridges Operating Company
The Forth Bridges Forum is a Transport Scotland-led management Forum, established to ensure that thorough and effective stakeholder engagement remains at the heart of the operation and maintenance of the bridges.
In addition, it provides a mechanism for the collective promotion of the Queensferry Crossing, the Forth Road Bridge (FRB) and the Forth Bridge.
The core members of the Forum are one or two senior officials from each of the organisations listed below.
- City of Edinburgh Council
- Fife Council
- Forth Bridges Unit Operating Company
- Historic Scotland
- Network Rail
- Transport Scotland
- Visit Scotland
- West Lothian Council
The Forum is managed by Transport Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Ministers. The Forum meets quarterly.
Functions of the Forum:
- To establish and oversee a strategic approach to the operation and maintenance of the Forth bridges
- To maintain effective engagement with local communities on issues that may affect, impact or be of interest to them
- To promote the location of the bridges spanning the Firth of Forth as a unique tourist destination
- Support the management of the World Heritage Site, following the successful nomination of the Forth Bridge in July 2015
- To develop and support schemes and measures to encourage an increase in cross-Forth active travel and sustainable public transport
Meeting date 28 February 2017
Meeting date 29 November 2016
Items discussed at the Forth Bridges Forum normally include minutes of previous meeting and actions, Forth Bridges marketing: longer term strategy, Forth Bridges marketing: current Activity, World Heritage Nomination Steering Group, and Forth Road Bridge Act update.
The agenda for each meeting should be published within one month of the meeting taking place, and minutes will be published following agreement at the subsequent meeting.
The Forth Road Bridge Act was the 200th Act of the Scottish Parliament. Picture courtesy Scottish Parliament
The Forth Road Bridge Act paved the way for a single operating company to carry out the management and maintenance of the Queensferry Crossing (QC) and the Forth Road Bridge (FRB).
The Scottish Government considers this approach delivers the greatest cost and operational efficiencies.
Under the Act, the road over the FRB was trunked, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) was dissolved and its property, rights and liabilities transferred to the Scottish Government.
The Forth Road Bridge Act gained Royal Assent in June 2013. The Act’s Commencement Order took effect in June 2015. Further information about the Act is available at the Scottish Parliament website.
The Forth Bridges Operating Company Contract was awarded to Amey Highways Limited in December 2014 and includes the connecting roads from M90 Junction 3 Halbeath in the north through to M9 Junction 1A Kirkliston in the south. See map for details: