THE Forth Road Bridge is to fully reopen to all vehicles at 11pm on Saturday February 20.
The bridge was closed in early December after a crack in a truss was discovered. It reopened to most users on December 23 but HGVs were still unable to use it until a “phased reintroduction” in recent weeks during restricted night-time hours.
Transport Scotland said bridge operator Amey has been “working around the clock” to finish strengthening works to allow all classes of vehicle 24-hour access. Favourable weather conditions have allowed this phase of the work to finish ahead of schedule.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said, “It is great see the Forth Road Bridge fully reopening this weekend. The immediate repair work is in the final stage and no further structural defects have been identified during painstaking investigations by engineers.
“I know that this is something that will be welcomed by the tens of thousands of drivers who use the bridge on a daily basis, especially the heavy goods vehicle drivers who have had to observe restricted crossing times in the past few weeks. I would like to thank them for their patience during this time and stress again that safety and the long-term integrity of the bridge had to be our main considerations. We did all we could to assist the HGV community on an operational level and they have shown great forbearance.
“Tribute should be paid to the engineering team that has been relentless in its commitment to getting this structure reopened. The team has worked tirelessly throughout despite very challenging weather conditions, employing innovative approaches to the repairs and putting in place very effective solutions to complex problems.
“The sophisticated monitoring systems that have been installed on the bridge will remain. The operators Amey have also taken the opportunity to give the Forth Road Bridge a full structural a health check and undertaken routine maintenance lessening the need for further closures.”
Mark Arndt, Amey’s account director for the Forth Road Bridge added, “Getting to this stage is the result of months of hard work from our team and partners and we’re hugely appreciative of the dedication shown by everyone involved during, what has been, a very challenging time.
“The finish line is now in sight and by Saturday, we’ll have completed all the necessary repairs to safely reopen both the north and south bound carriageway to all traffic.”
Martin Reid, Road Haulage Association director for Scotland, welcomed the news. He said, “The return to normal tomorrow is a huge relief for all concerned. All too often we take our core road infrastructure for granted and that cannot be allowed to happen in future.”