Graham hands over new intelligent transport system
A KEY element of the Forth Replacement Crossing project has gone live with the installation of transport technology that will reduce congestion on the roads leading to the bridge.
The intelligent transport system (ITS) launched on the M90 in Fife creates a dedicated bus lane and variable speed limits that will be used during the busiest traffic periods.
The system, designed and built by Graham Construction, features 17 gantries linked to traffic sensors built into the road and which will automatically detect when congestion is likely and vary the mandatory speed limit to keep drivers moving.
Similar ‘managed motorways’ have been successfully implemented in England, on sections of the M25 and M42 for example, but it is the first time such a system will have been used in Scotland.
Transport minister Keith Brown said: “The Forth Replacement Crossing continues to progress on time and on budget and I’m delighted that we can now begin to turn the ITS systems on to help manage and improve traffic flow and provide buses with a dedicated lane.
“Along with the park and ride facilities we have invested in at Halbeath, this will make travelling across the Forth by public transport an even more attractive option for commuters and more sustainable for the environment.”
The improvements to the M90 and M9 will open in phases with phase one (M90 north) this month and phase two (M9 & M90 south) in early 2013.
Phases one and two of the ITS will help manage the flow of traffic on the M90 on the approach to roadworks associated with construction of the new bridge until 2016 and through M9 Junction 1A during and after its construction period.
On completion of the principal contract in 2016, the ITS system will then extend over a length of 22km from M90 Halbeath junction in the north to the M9 Newbridge Junction in the south. This will also include an operating regime for both bridges to handle situations when high winds affect the Forth Road Bridge.
The phased opening will bring an end to two of the three main contracts let to build the FRC scheme. Fife ITS has involved the installation of gantries on M90 between the Admiralty and Halbeath Junctions in Fife and provision for southbound bus hard shoulder running.
M9 Junction 1a is due to complete early next year. It involves the upgrade and improvements to M9 Junction 1a at Kirkliston, including new west facing slip roads to the M9, and installation of ITS gantries.
Brown added: “Of course, the main part of the Forth Replacement Crossing – the new bridge itself – is still under construction and this system will help traffic management that will still be required before it opens in 2016.”