‘Schools Out’ for the Queensferry Crossing
The details of a ‘community day’ on the Queensferry Crossing have been revealed.
Following confirmation that the official opening by The Queen will take place on 4 September, and in response to local feedback, an additional 10,000 people from local schools and community groups on both sides of the Forth will have the chance to walk onto the bridge the next day (5 September). Then, from 6 September onwards, the bridge will re-open to traffic, with no pedestrian access.
The event on 5 September is expected to involve 13 schools from within the 6 community council areas immediately adjacent to the project, totalling around 6,000 pupils and staff who have been invited.
This is expected to create an opportunity for each child in the area to become a part of Scotland’s history, thereby offering a real legacy for the next generation. It also builds on a key aspect of the project whereby 23,000 school pupils have participated in the Schools Programme, part of the wider Outreach and Education programme in which 70,000 people have participated.
The third day is in addition to the Queensferry Crossing Experience which will see 50,000 people walk the bridge over the weekend of 2/3 September. The new bridge opens to traffic for the first time on 30 August, prior to closing to accommodate the Queensferry Crossing Experience.
Transport Scotland and VisitScotland also revealed details of additional support for local communities to make the most out of the weekend of celebrations, including funding for South Queensferry and North Queensferry to host events, entertainment, screenings of the celebrations, and a flotilla on the Forth, in the run up to and during the official opening on 4 September.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said:
“These official opening celebrations mark the end of a hugely impressive construction project but also set the scene for a new chapter as the public will soon start to see the immediate benefits of the bridge being open to traffic. We can be sure of a global audience and have already received interest from around the world in this spectacular project. VisitScotland and Transport Scotland are already working with other agencies to ensure the location is marketed as a unique destination and a Forth Bridges Strategy is being developed to build on the momentum associated with a grand opening of this scale.
“In terms of the additional bridge event, we have listened to feedback from local communities and due to the phenomenal demand generated by the Queensferry Crossing Experience ballot process have organised an event devoted to local schools and communities, as close as possible to the official opening. This has been done to minimise disruption but ensure the feel good factor isn’t lost. There are a host of opportunities in the pipeline as we create a lasting legacy for this magnificent project and it’s only right that local communities who have been affected stand to benefit.”
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said:
“As the Minister who steered the enabling legislation through Parliament it is a proud moment to see the Queensferry Crossing nearing completion and preparing to take traffic for the first time. I’ve always been struck by the public’s enthusiasm for the project, not least within our classrooms across the country. The impressive education centre has welcomed over 70,000 visitors to date, 23,000 of them school children. That’s why this third event, dedicated to local schools and communities, is such a fantastic idea. By inspiring future generations of engineers and enthusiasts we can continue to build a better Scotland and enhance our reputation across the world.”
Project Director David Climie said:
“The response to the Queensferry Crossing Experience ballot has been phenomenal. I’ve been involved in opening ceremonies for various bridges around the world but this demand is something else. I’m therefore delighted that we’ve been able to organise a third event devoted to local schools and communities, which will hopefully inspire a whole new generation of engineers in Scotland. The fact that so many schools, young people and groups from across Scotland have visited the bridge and education centre throughout its construction has been a real success story and should give the industry confidence about where the next breed of talented and skilful engineers is coming from.”