Forth Replacement Crossing
By adding the Queensferry Crossing to the existing Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge (FRB), we safeguarded cross-Forth travel at this location, which is one of the most vital connections in Scotland's transport network.
Working with our contractor, the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium, the Forth Replacement Crossing project (FRC) was 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 opened to traffic on 30 August 2017 and is the tallest bridge in the UK.
The Queensferry Crossing transitioned to become a motorway on 1 February 2018 and the final public transport links are complete.
The largest part of the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC) Project was 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 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 is a designated motorway. This means that motorbikes with an engine capacity lower than 50cc will not be permitted on the Queensferry Crossing.
Learner motorcyclists and motorcycles up to 125cc will still be permitted to cross the existing Forth Road Bridge as will all learners on motorcycles over 125cc with a provisional licence under the supervision of a certified direct access instructor.
While the new Queensferry Crossing is the most eye-catching element of the Forth Replacement Crossing Project, the scheme also required a major improvement to the trunk road network in the east of Scotland.
The project included the upgrading of 19.7 km of roads connecting to the new crossing and the building of 4 km 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 resulted in less impact on the environment, properties and communities.
To the south of the crossing, a new motorway standard road links 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.
The new motorway connects the crossing 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) is being 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 Forth Replacement Crossing Project. The result is that a 22 km 'Managed Motorway' regulates the traffic travelling across the Forth, modelled on successful systems used on motorways in England.
All phases of the ITS have opened on either side of the bridge, with the final phase opening upon the completion of the crossing on 1 February 2018.
Drivers require no specialist skills to use roads featuring ITS.
Overhead gantries spaced regularly along the corridor provide lane control, variable mandatory speed control and bus lane control.
Message signs on the gantries 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%.
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 Forth Replacement Crossing (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.
Download the Queensferry Crossing and Forth Road Users Guide from the Forth Bridges Forum website.
The FRC Project frees up the Forth Road Bridge to be maintained as a dedicated public transport corridor. It carries public transport, taxi’s, all motorcycles up to 125cc, learner motorcyclists over 125cc with a provisional licence under the supervision of a certified direct access instructor, pedestrians and cyclists. In the future the Forth Road Bridge could also be adapted to carry a Light Rapid Transit system, if needed.
Public transport in the area has been significantly improved as a result of the FRC Project. Journey times have become more reliable and the route has 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 either side of the bridge encourage the use of public transport. These are 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 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 are 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.
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 were put in place to facilitate consultation with the Contractor:
- Environmental Liaison Group: This group is consulted regarding environmental matters. It included representatives from the local authorities, Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Marine Scotland.
- Noise Liaison Group: This group provided oversight of all aspects of noise planning and control during construction and monitoring. The group included representatives from each of the relevant local authorities and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Over 400,000 new trees, grown from the seeds of local trees, were planted. The new planting comprised of 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.
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.
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 allows for dimming and remote control for 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 scheme, encouraging non-motorised travel in the area.
Retaining the FRB makes the journey significantly better for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the Forth, as it reduces the volume of traffic crossing the bridges.
The Forth Road Bridge is now a Public Transport Corridor, which continues to be the route for walking and cycling across the Firth of Forth. Full details of the access arrangements for walkers and cyclists are in the Forth Road Bridge - Walking and Cycling Guide.
The Contractors, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) were required to adhere to the Forth Replacement Crossing - Code of Construction Practice (CoCP) and our Forth Replacement Crossing Environmental Statement at all times. In turn, FCBC were accountable to Scottish Ministers.
The CoCP explains that access had to be maintained, unless provided for in the Forth Crossing Act or agreed with the relevant roads authority or occupiers. The Act did not allow for the closure of existing access unless a new access was provided first. FCBC were required to maintain access to homes throughout the construction period.
The contractor was also required to prepare a Traffic Management Plan in consultation with local authorities. While construction works did lead to some additional traffic on some roads, the assessment did not indicate that there would be an unacceptable level of additional impact.
The CoCP required the contractor to develop and implement a Green Travel Plan which sought 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, were required to have a community liaison function as part of their team to ensure communities and users were kept informed and had a point of contact regarding construction activities.
While we believed that we had planned for as many eventualities as possible, occasionally problems arose during the project which had not been foreseen.
The first points of contact for all enquires and complaints were to the relevant contractor through a 24-hour project Hotline or in person at the Contact and Education Centre in South Queensferry.
All complainants were to be responded to by the relevant contractor within 48 hours.
If the contractor did not consider it could take actions to resolve a complaint, he would refer the complaint to the Employer's Representative who would consider the complaint and determine if any actions could be taken. If a complaint was not resolved within 48 hours, the contractor would provide a weekly update to the complainant of any actions taken to resolve the complaint. If it was not possible to resolve the complaint, an explanation of why this was the case would be provided to the complainant.
Once a complaint has been through the contractors complaint procedure, if the complainant feels it had not been resolved, the complaint could send it to the Employers Representative for review.
If a complaint was still not resolved it would be subject to a final review by Transport Scotland.
If a complainant reached the end of this process and felt their complaint was not resolved, they could then approach the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman who may consider their complaint.
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman
Edinburgh EH3 0BR
Freephone: 0800 377 7330
Enquiries and Complaints Register
As stipulated in the Code of Construction Practice, we published summary information from the contractors Enquiries and Complaints Register on a monthly basis. The information covered all enquiries and complaints received via telephone, correspondence or visitors to our Contact and Education Centre.
Engaging with the FRC
The Centre is at:
Due to current COVID restrictions, the Contact and Education Centre is currently closed to the public.
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 had been carefully maintained in the following years. In spite of the significant investment into the bridge, it has shown deterioration in recent years and was 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 end 2016 - the study showed the potential need to restrict Heavy Good Vehicles from the FRB. 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 then had a range of mid-July to end of August 2017 for the opening to traffic date. The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic in August 2017.
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, proposed the use of the existing FRB for continued public benefit.
When the Queensferry Crossing opened as a motorway in February 2018, the FRB became a dedicated public transport corridor carrying buses, pedestrians and cyclists. In the future it could 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 such as buses. 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:
After the legislation and procurement was in place, the teams mobilised in summer 2011 and work began in the early autumn of 2011.
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 over 35,000 votes were cast. The then First Minister Alex Salmond announced that Queensferry Crossing was the clear winner, coming ahead of the Caledonia Bridge and St Margaret's Crossing.
Scotland's stunning Queensferry Crossing is the world's longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge and the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span. Learn about its construction through exclusive 3D animation, specially-created videos and an archive of on-site photography and articles at the Queensferry Crossing Arc website.
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 communication was always 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 the General Public
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
- Engineering and Design
Various elements of the scheme were improved or amended following feedback. For instance, the location of the Queensferry Junction moved further west to connect directly with the A904 on the western edge of the town
This design improvement was prompted by feedback from the community in 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 solution would relieve some of the most populated areas of Queensferry which 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 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 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
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.
Transport Scotland provided 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 worked closely to ensure disruption was kept to a minimum.
All traffic management was planned and coordinated through a regularly convened Traffic Management Working Group, chaired by Transport Scotland and attended by FCBC, relevant roads authorities and representatives from the emergency services.