Forth Road Bridge back in business
The Forth Road Bridge (FRB) is set to partially reopen and carry scheduled public buses this Friday (October 13).
Since the new Queensferry Crossing officially opened, the FRB has been closed to complete the necessary roadworks to allow it to be used as a public transport corridor. This work is now nearing completion with scheduled public buses being able to use the FRB from later this week. Initially a contraflow arrangement will be in place for the first weeks of operation. This is the first important stage of commissioning the public transport corridor, with other buses, taxis and motorcycles, to follow in the coming weeks. For now, other buses and all taxis and motorcycles will continue to use the Queensferry Crossing.
The speed limit on the Queensferry Crossing is currently 40 mph and it’s expected this will be lifted to 50 mph in the coming weeks, with full motorway regulations coming into force later in the year. Once the new bridge is a fully operational motorway the speed limit will be 70 mph, apart from when the variable mandatory speed limit is in place, as dictated by the Intelligent Transport System.
Traffic Scotland, Amey and Transport Scotland continue to monitor the performance of the new bridge, surrounding roads and adjoining junctions. Although the unusual opening tourist traffic has now subsided with volumes and journey times returning to more usual levels, the new arrangements are still bedding in and are being kept under review.
Paul Thomas, Stagecoach East Scotland Managing Director said:
"The phased re-opening of the Forth Road Bridge will mean that we will be able to revert back to normal stopping arrangements for services X51, X55 and 747 as these routes can serve the bus stops at the south of the bridge, then divert via southbound bus lane or A904 to re-join the M90 for onward travel to Edinburgh/Airport. Our services not scheduled to use these stops (X5, X9, X54, X56, X58, X59) will continue to use the Queensferry Crossing at present.
"In comparison to the tens of thousands of cars using the Queensferry Crossing each day, the number of public transport vehicles using the new bridge is extremely low. We will continue to liaise with Transport Scotland on the Forth Replacement Crossing project and look forward to gaining full access to the Forth Road Bridge in due course, using the new bus lanes to provide the best possible journey times for our customers."
Mark Arndt, Amey’s Account Director for the Forth Bridges Unit, said:
“We’ve been taking advantage of the Forth Road Bridge being closed to traffic by carrying out important trials and investigations on the carriageway, with a view to completely resurfacing it at a future date. We’ve also taken the opportunity to get ahead with steelwork repairs and other maintenance. It will be good to see the bridge carrying buses again – this marks an important step forward towards the approved Managed Crossing strategy. Amey is looking forward to taking over responsibility for the Queensferry Crossing and the new approach roads once FCBC have completed their work.”
Traffic Scotland Operator Manager Stein Connelly said:
“The transfer of public scheduled buses onto the Forth Road Bridge marks the next stage of the Queensferry Crossing project. There will be no change to the road layout for the majority of vehicles but we would ask all drivers to stay alert to allow everyone to get used to the new arrangements. Traffic Scotland will be keeping road users up to date on Friday with all of the real time travel information that they need to plan their journeys.”