Transport Scotland has celebrated the first year anniversary of the £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing by stating the structure is proving to be more reliable than the old Forth Road Bridge.
August 30 marks a year to the day since the crossing was opened to traffic with the bridge mitigating the impact of high winds, accidents and breakdowns, according to new data released by Scotland’s transport body.
New operational features including wind shields and hard shoulders, specifically designed and implemented by workers have been hailed as major contributing factors in improving journey reliability. In addition to the benefits of wind shielding, hard shoulders on the new bridge are reported to have reduced delays resulting from accidents and breakdowns.
Transport Scotland claim that since the new bridge opened, there have been 14 occasions when the Forth Road Bridge would have had to close to high-sided vehicles.
The typical duration of an incident on the Queensferry Crossing is around one hour from the start of an incident through to restoring normal traffic conditions, whereas previously, the typical duration of an incident could take up to five hours before normal traffic conditions had been restored.
The transport organisation says that this meant during an incident with a broken down vehicle on the Forth Road Bridge the journey time increased from 15 to 30 minutes, compared to just 11 to 13 minutes now with one incident said to have caused no impact at all on journey times whatsoever.
Commenting on the analysis, cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure & Connectivity, Michael Matheson said: “One year on since opening the new bridge, we are today providing further evidence that shows how reliability of journeys over the Forth have improved in the last twelve months. The impacts of incidents on the Queensferry Crossing have been much reduced by making use of the hard shoulders to assist in quicker response times in the recovery of vehicles and allowing for the ability to maintain two lanes of traffic.”
The benefits for the economy, businesses and commuters as a result of the Queensferry Crossing have also been recognised by the Road Haulage Association and Freight Transport Association.
Seamus Leheny, policy manager of the Freight Transport Association said: “At a time when reliable trading links across the country, and with the rest of Europe, are more critical than ever before, the Queensferry Crossing has quickly established itself as a vital component in the UK’s supply chain. Its ability to remain open when other options are closed by the severe weather conditions frequently experienced in this part of the world are a godsend for businesses on both sides of the border.”