Overview

The Forth Replacement Crossing Project (FRC) consists of two major infrastructure developments:

  • constructing a new bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, to be used as the primary route across the Firth of Forth
  • creating and upgrading the connecting roads on either side of the new bridge

By adding to the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge (FRB), Transport Scotland can safeguard one of the most vital connections in Scotland's transport network.

We are working with the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium on the project. The FRC is responsible for creating 1,200 job opportunities in the local area, as well as enabling a large number of sub-contracts and supply orders from Scottish companies.

The Queensferry Crossing

Queensferry Crossing opening date announced

Economy Secretary Keith Brown revealed the date the Queensferry Crossing will open to traffic. Details of an opportunity for the public to walk across the new bridge were also announced.

Key dates as follows:

  • The Queensferry Crossing will open to traffic on 30 August, 2017
  • The bridge will then close to allow the public to take part in a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to walk over the new bridge on 2 and 3 September
  • There are 50,000 spaces up for grabs through a ballot – the Queensferry Crossing Experience
  • The bridge will transition to a motorway once the final public transport links to the north of the Forth Road Bridge are completed.
  • Full details to be provided for road users in the weeks ahead of opening the bridge.
  • Please note that the Queensferry Crossing Experience website link for members of the public who wish to enter the ballot which will close at 12 noon on Wednesday 5 July 2017.

The largest part of the FRC project is to build the Queensferry Crossing, an iconic structure with a 2.7km span over the Firth of Forth. 23,000 miles of cabling - almost enough to wrap around the circumference of the earth - suspends the bridge from three towers. These cables provide extra strength and stiffness to the structure, yet the towers remain narrow and elegant.

The Queensferry Crossing, upon completion, will be the tallest bridge in the UK.

The bridge deck carries two general lanes of traffic in each direction alongside hard shoulders to ensure that breakdowns and maintenance work do not cause severe congestion. This design also accommodates buses that get displaced from the FRB during dangerous weather conditions.

The bridge was designed and developed with an international team of architects and engineers, in consultation with Architecture and Design Scotland.

The road leading up to and running over the Queensferry Crossing will be a designated motorway. This means that motorbikes with an engine capacity lower than 50cc will not be permitted on the bridge. Learners and small engine motorbikes will still be permitted to cross the existing Forth Road Bridge.

The bridge in numbers

  • 23,000 miles of cables
  • Over 35,000 tonnes of steel, the equivalent of 80 Boeing 747s
  • 7,000 tonnes of steel for the North and South Viaducts, enough to make 23 Kelpies
  • 207 metres - or 22 London buses stacked end to end - above high tide; that's 50 metres higher than the FRB
  • 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) across, including the approach viaducts
  • £1.7 to £2.3 billion budget for the bridge, on a par with similar structures in the UK, such as the Mersey Crossing and the Second Severn Crossing

Reliability features

  • Windshielding will protect the bridge from the effects of wind and provide a more reliable corridor for HGVs and is expected to almost entirely eliminate the need for weather-related closures.
  • Only the latest and most durable materials have been used.
  • Cables can be replaced with more ease than on the FRB and can be done without closing the bridge.
  • A dehumidification system inside the box girder reduces moisture, which in turn prevents corrosion.
  • Modern paint systems protect the structure.
  • A thicker road surface with a longer surface life can be machine laid, making it easier to replace.

Connecting roads

While the new bridge will be the most eye-catching element of the FRC, the scheme also involves a major improvement to the trunk road network in the east of Scotland.

The project will include upgrading 19.7 kilometres of roads connecting to the bridge and building 4 kilometres of completely new connecting roads. These plans were developed after extensive consultation with local communities and other stakeholders.

By maximising the use of the existing road network, the FRC’s connecting roads aim to result in less impact on the environment, properties and communities.

To the south of the bridge, a new motorway standard road will link the crossing to the A90 and M9, making use of the M9 Spur - which is now named the M90.

The speed limit around this area will generally be 70mph, with an advisory limit of 50mph around the curve at Scotstoun.

The M9 Junction 1A contract improved the junction with the M9, creating new connections with and for West Lothian, relieving communities of heavy traffic on local roads as a result. This work was completed in February 2013. To the north, a new motorway will connect the bridge to the A90/M90, incorporating junction enhancements at Admiralty and Ferrytoll and road widening between them.

Intelligent transport system

A state-of-the-art Intelligent Transport System (ITS) will be used along the length of the Queensferry Crossing and connecting roads. Similar systems around the UK have proven that ITS:

  • increases the efficiency of the road
  • reduces congestion
  • improves road safety.

This is a pioneering scheme in Scotland which starts in Fife and extends along the length of the FRC project. The result will be a 22km 'managed motorway' that regulates the traffic travelling across the Forth, modelled on successful systems used on motorways in England.

Two phases of the ITS have opened on either side of the bridge, with the final phase opening upon completion of the bridge.

Drivers require no specialist skills to use roads featuring ITS.

Overhead gantries spaced regularly along the corridor will provide lane control, variable mandatory speed control and bus lane control. Message signs on the gantries will provide drivers with a wide range of traffic information, with extra information to help drivers experiencing congestion.

Mandatory variable speed limits will be applied when necessary, such as during incidents or when significant congestion occurs. These speed limits will be enforced.

Evidence indicates that systems which reduce vehicle queues can reduce accidents resulting in injury by up to 13%.

Public transport

There are two lanes in each direction for general traffic on the Queensferry Crossing - it is replacing, not increasing, the road provision for general traffic. The Scottish Government's emphasis is on public transport instead of allowing unconstrained growth in vehicle traffic.

Future travel growth beyond the opening of the FRC will be accommodated by increased use of public transport. As a dedicated public transport corridor, the Forth Road Bridge will provide additional infrastructure capacity for sustainable forms of travel.

Increased access

The FRC project frees up the Forth Road Bridge to be maintained as a dedicated public transport corridor. It will carry public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. In the future it could also be adapted to carry a Light Rapid Transit system, if it is needed.

Public transport in the area will be significantly improved as a result of the FRC project. Journey times will become more reliable and the route will have an increased capacity.

Several local businesses and authorities came together to develop a strategy to increase and encourage the use of public transport as part of the FRC project.

Bus lanes

Bus lanes either side of the bridge will encourage the use of public transport. These will be available on the southbound M90 in Fife and on the southbound M9 in the vicinity of Junction 1A.

The lanes are open 24/7 to any vehicle built to carry 24 or more seated passengers; any vehicles that don't meet this requirement are prohibited from using the lanes. Fixed-plate signs will indicate the presence of a bus lane.

In case of breakdown or emergency:

  • The bus lane is always accessible as a hard shoulder to any vehicle involved in a breakdown or emergency. When this happens, buses will be diverted to the normal traffic lanes.
  • In an emergency, one of the emergency refuge areas next to the bus lane/hard shoulder should be used. These refuge areas have emergency roadside telephones with a direct connection to the Traffic Scotland Control Centre.
  • If you can't reach the emergency refuge area in your vehicle, the hard shoulder is always available. Should you require a telephone, follow the directions on the roadside marker posts.
  • If you use your mobile, dial 112 or 999 to contact the emergency services.

Halbeath Park & Ride

As part of the FRC project, Transport Scotland and Fife Council created Halbeath Park & Ride, which runs bus services from west Fife into Edinburgh and Glasgow. Construction started in winter 2012 and the site opened in November 2013 at a cost of £9.5 million.

The park & ride site at Ferrytoll - a few miles to the south - regularly reaches full capacity. Halbeath Park & Ride, which has been funded by Transport Scotland and European Regional Development Fund, offers additional capacity for Edinburgh commuters and an alternative interchange for travellers to Edinburgh Airport, as well as journeys across Fife and longer distance coach services.

The facility is operated as a partnership between Fife Council and Stagecoach in Fife. The Council provides, maintains and manages the infrastructure while Stagecoach operates most of the bus services and staffs the facility.

Environmental considerations

The FRC project has always carefully considered its environmental impact. Our Environmental Statement documents our assessment of the project and highlights the areas where mitigation is required to avoid or reduce an impact. 

Two environmental working groups have been put in place to facilitate consultation with the Contractor:

  • Environmental Liaison Group: This group is consulted regarding environmental matters. It includes representatives from the local authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Marine Scotland.
  • Noise Liaison Group: This group provides oversight of all aspects of noise planning and control during construction and monitoring. The group includes representatives from each of the relevant local authorities and Scottish Natural Heritage.

Landscape planting

Over 400,000 new trees, grown from the seeds of local trees, were planted. The new planting comprises large blocks of woodland, smaller areas of scrub woodland, hedgerows and individual trees, to integrate the new roads into the surrounding landscape and provide screening, where required.

Ecology

Before any construction work started, a large number of surveys were undertaken for the local wildlife and nature conservation sites which could be harmed or changed by building and using the new bridge and roads.  Extensive mammal fencing and a number of mammal crossings have been incorporated into the new roads.

Drainage

The Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), agreed with SEPA, provides dry detention basins that provide temporary storage of runoff from the roads.

Noise, air and light pollution

Mitigation of noise from the new roads includes a low-noise road surface where necessary and noise screening structures such as bunds and barriers at locations where a significant adverse effect was expected.

The FRC project results in both increases and decreases in air pollutant levels in its vicinity, although changes are generally very small. No mitigation measures are required.  However, the Intelligent Transport System can help to reduce traffic emissions due to the smoother flow of traffic and reduction of traffic jams.

The installed lighting will allow for dimming and remote control for future energy reduction. This supports Scottish Government objectives to reduce carbon emissions, pollution of the night sky and to reduce impacts on the rural landscape where this can be achieved safely and effectively.

Walking and cycling

We've incorporated plans for pedestrians and cyclists as part of the FRC project. New cycleways, footpaths and safe crossing points have been built into the new scheme, encouraging non-motorised travel in the area.

Retaining the FRB will also make the journey significantly better for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Forth, as it reduces the volume of traffic crossing the bridges.

Construction

Typical construction hours are Monday to Saturday from 8am to 7pm, although certain marine works require running continuously. The contractors will be adhering to the Code of Construction Practice (CoCP) and our Environmental Statement at all times. In turn, contractors will be accountable to Scottish Ministers.

The CoCP explains that access must be maintained, unless provided for in the Act or agreed with the relevant roads authority or occupiers. The Act does not allow for the closure of existing access unless a new access is provided first. The contractor will be required to maintain access to homes throughout the construction period.

The contractor is also required to prepare a Traffic Management Plan in consultation with local authorities. While construction works will lead to additional traffic on some roads, the assessment has not indicated that there will be an unacceptable level of additional impact.

The CoCP requires the contractor to develop and implement a Green Travel Plan which will seek to reduce the effects of construction staff travelling to the site on the road network.

Community liaison, enquiries and complaints

FCBC, the main Contractors for the Forth Replacement Crossing project, are required to have a community liaison function as part of their team to ensure communities and users are kept informed and have a point of contact regarding construction activities. 

The dedicated Community Liaison Officer (CLO) can provide you with up to date information on the project and planned construction works, deal with any complaints you may have and respond to enquiries.

While we believe that we have planned for as many eventualities as possible, occasionally problems may arise during the project which have not been foreseen.

The first points of contact for all enquires and complaints are to the relevant contractor through the 24-hour project Hotline (0800 078 6910) or in person at the Contact and Education Centre.

All complainants will be responded to by the relevant contractor within 48 hours.

If the contractor does not consider it can take actions to resolve a complaint, it will refer to the complaint to the Employer's Representative who will consider the complaint and determine if any actions can be taken. If a complaint is not resolved within 48 hours, the contractor will provide a weekly update to the complainant of any actions taken to resolve the complaint. If it is not possible to resolve the complaint, an explanation of why this is the case will be provided to the complainant.

Once a complaint has been through the contractors complaint procedure, if the complainant feels it has not been resolved, the complaint can be sent to the Employers representative for review.

If your complaint is still not resolved it will be subject to a final review by Transport Scotland.

If a complainant reaches the end of this process and does not feel their complaint has been resolved, they may approach the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who may consider their complaint.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
SPSO
Freepost EH641
Edinburgh EH3 0BR
Freephone: 0800 377 7330

Enquiries and Complaints Register

As stipulated in the Code of Construction Practice, we will publish summary information from our Enquiries and Complaints Register on a monthly basis. The information will cover all enquiries and complaints received via telephone, correspondence or visitors to our Contact and Education Centre.

April 2017

During the period 1-30 April, our Contact and Education Centre received 33 enquiries, 7 complaints and 1 compliment relating to the Principal Contract (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors).  Most of the enquiries related to requests for project information. The complaints received related to traffic management, dust & mud and other.

March 2017

During the period 1-31 March, our Contact and Education Centre received 38 enquiries and 12 complaints relating to the Principal Contract (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors).  Most of the enquiries related to requests for project information. The complaints received related to traffic management, vibration & noise and other.

February 2017

During the period 1-28 February 2017, our Contact and Education Centre received 41 enquiries, 10 complaints and 2 compliments relating to the Principal Contract (Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors).  Most of the enquiries related to requests for project information. The complaints received related to traffic management and vibration & noise.

Engaging with the FRC

Since the inception of the FRC project, we have been committed to engaging effectively with local communities.

We started by publishing our commitments to working with local communities, where we outlined our approach. This was designed to ensure that:

  • arrangements for participation are inclusive, open and transparent, encouraging a wide range of participants to get involved at the appropriate time
  • information is provided at key stages to allow for the fullest consideration
  • communication takes place using a range of methods in a range of locations
  • all representations are fully considered and feedback provided

Contact and Education Centre

The Forth Replacement Crossing Contact & Education Centre is designed as a focal point for on-going community engagement and education during the project's construction.

We aim to provide high quality contact and education centre services to local residents and visitors, while emphasising the project's purpose, investment value and innovation in construction. The centre also highlights the benefits that a career in engineering can provide.

The contact centre is purpose-built for:

  • members of the local community who are affected by the FRC project, so they have a permanent location for meeting team members face-to-face
  • educational groups of 12 or more who book a slot to visit the education and exhibition room
  • the general public, who can visit the Project Exhibition every Saturday between 10am and 4pm

We also run an FRC Presentation Series on the last weekend of every month, giving an in-depth look at the construction of the Queensferry Crossing, and an opportunity to hear from project engineers in detail about various aspects of the construction of the Queensferry Crossing and its connecting roads.

Location 

Forth Replacement Crossing Contact and Education Centre
Adjacent to Forth Road Bridge Administration Building
South Queensferry
Edinburgh
Scotland
EH30 9SF

Direct Line: 0800 078 6910 
Enquiries can be made via email to: frcenquiries@transportscotland.gsi.gov.uk

Project Exhibition

The Forth Replacement Crossing Project Exhibition will take place each Saturday (10am–4pm) during 2017.

The Exhibition is for anyone interested in finding out more about the largest transport infrastructure project in Scotland in a generation.

Representatives of the Client - Transport Scotland and the Contractors - Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) are available at the Project Exhibition and Project Presentations to answer questions about the Forth Replacement Crossing project.

Visitors also have access to facilities including regularly updated exhibition panels, detailed bridge models, audio visual materials and be able to ask questions of project team members. In addition, as we are located in Queensferry on the Edinburgh side of the Forth Road Bridge, the Contact and Education Centre provides a perfect platform to view the existing Forth Bridges and the Queensferry Crossing construction on the Forth estuary.

FRC Project Presentation Series

The Forth Replacement Crossing Presentation Series takes place on the last Saturday and preceding Friday of each month. The next presentations will take place on:

  • Friday 27 October and Saturday 28 October 2017 at 10:30am and 1pm

The FRC Presentation Series provides an in depth look at the construction of the Queensferry Crossing with an opportunity to hear from project engineers in detail about various aspects of the construction of the Queensferry Crossing and its connecting roads.

The FRC Presentation Series will be open from 10am until 4pm, with presentations taking place at 10:30 and 1pm.

Each presentation lasts approximately one hour with an opportunity for questions and discussion afterwards.

No advance booking is required.

Project history

The Queensferry Crossing sits alongside the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge - three iconic structures spanning three centuries of cutting-edge civil engineering. This section looks at the story of the bridge and how it came to take its place alongside these famous landmarks.

A new bridge

The Forth Road Bridge (FRB) was built in 1964 and has been carefully maintained in the following years. In spite of the significant investment into the bridge, it has shown deterioration in recent years and is no longer deemed viable as the long-term main crossing of the Firth of Forth.

Fixing the Forth Road Bridge wasn't an option. Although technically possible, such a procedure would have taken seven to nine years, severely disrupting traffic and negatively impacting the economy of Scotland.

In 2006-7, Transport Scotland carried out the Forth Replacement Crossing Study to examine a wide range of options for replacing the FRB. The result of this study was the decision, announced in December 2007, to build a new cable-stayed bridge to the west of the FRB.

This decision came with the necessarily tight deadline of 2016 - the study showed the potential need to restrict the FRB to Heavy Good Vehicles. On 29 March 2017, it was announced that completion of the Queensferry Crossing by May 2017 was no longer achievable following a detailed programme review and the FRC Project now has a range of mid-July to end of August 2017 for the opening to traffic date.

Transport Scotland immediately began design, procurement and statutory work on the fast tracked scheme – appointing the Jacobs Arup joint venture as design consultants in January 2008.

Managed Crossing Strategy

One of the innovations of the FRC project was the introduction of an efficient Managed Crossing Strategy. This strategy, which was announced by Scottish Ministers in December 2008, uses the existing FRB for continued public benefit.

The FRB will become a dedicated public transport corridor carrying buses, pedestrians and cyclists. In the future it could even be adapted to carry a Light Rapid Transit (LRT) system, if that's needed.

This comes with the immediate benefit of freeing up the Queensferry Crossing from larger vehicles. The reduced weight on the FRB also gives it a longer operational life.

As a result, the Managed Crossing Strategy saved over £1.7 billion from the FRC's original estimated cost of £3.2 to £4.2 billion, which was based on a much wider replacement bridge that included a dual carriageway, dedicated public transport lanes and hard shoulders.

Legislation and procurement in tandem

The Forth Crossing Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament in November 2009, the same month as the procurement process – one of the biggest the Scottish Government had ever undertaken – got under way.

Following extensive Parliamentary scrutiny throughout 2010, the Forth Crossing Act was granted Royal Assent in January 2011.

The Principal Contract to design and build the new bridge and connecting roads was awarded in April 2011 to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium with a successful tender price of £790 million, significantly below the original estimated price range of £900 - £1.2 billion.

The contract to install the project's Intelligent Transport System (ITS) on the M90 in Fife, north of the new bridge, was awarded in June 2011 to John Graham (Dromore) Ltd.

On the south side, the contract to upgrade M9 Junction 1A at Kirkliston was awarded in July 2011 to a consortium between John Sisk and Roadbridge.

Governance structure: This diagram explains the structure of the FRC project in its construction phase:

Construction history

After the legislation and procurement was in place, the teams mobilised in summer 2011 and work began in the early autumn.

By February 2013, both major road upgrade contracts (Fife ITS and M9 Junction 1A) had been delivered on budget and ahead of schedule.

Naming the bridge

In November 2012, the Name the Bridge competition was launched to find a permanent name for the new bridge. 7,300 unique name suggestions were whittled down to a shortlist by an independent panel.

A public vote was held in spring 2013 and 35,000 votes were cast. The First Minister Alex Salmond announced that Queensferry Crossing was the clear winner, coming ahead of the Caledonia Bridge and St Margaret's Crossing.

Community engagement history

The FRC has set a new standard in engagement with directly affected communities and other interested parties on infrastructure projects in Scotland. Engagement was built into the heart of the project from the start and communications has always been one of the key elements of project delivery.

A sustained programme of engagement with scores of organisations and thousands of individuals was undertaken throughout 2008 and 2009. These activities were programmed to take place at specific stages in the project’s development to communicate and gather feedback on new findings and information, options and important decisions. This was carried out across four separate but complementary programmes:

  • Communities, interested parties and general public
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
  • Engineering and Design
  • Landowners

Consultation outcomes

Various elements of the scheme were improved or amended following feedback. For instance, the location of the South Queensferry Junction moved further west to connect directly with A904 on the western edge of the town

This design improvement was prompted by feedback from the community in South Queensferry which highlighted concerns about the visual impact of the road embankment and a desire to move the junction to another location to reduce traffic levels on Builyeon Road and provide more direct bus access.

By moving the junction west, Transport Scotland was able to engineer a solution which provides a substantially lower embankment and, at the same time, a more direct access onto the trunk road network for the majority of local traffic. This will relieve some of the most populated areas of South Queensferry which currently experience a significant amount of southbound traffic travelling west from the Forth Road Bridge.

Other amendments made following feedback were:

  • inclusion of north and south public transport slip roads onto the A90 at South Queensferry to give access to and from the Forth Road Bridge and A90
  • revision of Ferrytoll Junction and realignment of B981 from North Queensferry
  • removal of Park and Ride at South Queensferry
  • various amendments to mitigation and landscaping at Dundas Home Farm
  • assessment and identification of alternative location for construction compound to the west of Echline field in response to concerns over neighbourhood impacts

Compensation

By using existing infrastructure and road alignments as far as possible, Transport Scotland has been able to reduce the impacts on properties and land. We do not plan to demolish any property.

However, should you be able to prove that the value of your property has been significantly reduced by the FRC project, you may be eligible to claim compensation from the Forth Crossing Act. Different legal rules and procedures apply depending on whether you wish to claim as a result of the Forth Replacement Crossing construction works or from the Forth Replacement Crossing operation.

Traffic management

We provide regular updates for road users on the latest traffic management required as part of constructing the Queensferry Crossing and connecting roads.

Transport Scotland and its contractor FCBC work closely to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.

All traffic management is planned and coordinated through a regularly convened Traffic Management Working Group, chaired by Transport Scotland and attended by FCBC, Relevant Roads Authorities and emergency services.

Subscribe to our mailing list to receive email alerts on roadworks including maps and updates as they develop.

Other information