New Queensferry Crossing opens to traffic

The new Queensferry Crossing with the old Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Rail Bridge in the background.

The new £1.35bn crossing over the Forth has officially opened to traffic.

The first vehicles travelled across the Queensferry Crossing in the early hours of this morning and by the time of the morning rush hour, there were hour-long delays on the bridge in both directions as a result of the massive number of drivers wanting to cross the new structure for the first time.

A temporary 40mph speed limit was also put in place, with long tailbacks reported on surrounding roads. The crossing is effectively an extension of the M90 motorway across the Forth with a 70mph speed limit, although operators said that an initial 40mph limit would be in operation due to allow for “driver distraction”.

The new 1.7-mile publicly-funded crossing is the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland in a generation and will replace the 53-year-old Forth Road Bridge as the main road route between Edinburgh and Fife, carrying 24 million vehicles a year. The old bridge will remain open for cyclists, pedestrians and buses.

The Queensferry Crossing will be closed this weekend to allow members of the public to walk across it. Thousands are set to make the walk after around 50,000 people were given tickets after a ballot for the once-in-a-lifetime chance to walk over the new bridge on Saturday and Sunday.

Next Monday the bridge will get a royal visit from the Queen, ahead of the bridge fully opening later next week.

Commenting on the new bridge’s opening, Scottish Government economy secretary Keith Brown said: “It's fantastic. You immediately notice coming over the new bridge - as traffic is now doing - the absence of the slap, slap, slap that you get on the existing bridge. It's a very smooth passage right across the Queensferry Crossing. Also, just the excitement of looking at this fantastic new structure from a new angle.

“I think it will be extremely well-received by the people in Scotland who are going to use this bridge. It has wind protection, which we couldn't put on the old bridge and this will mean that this bridge should virtually never have to close because of high winds, which frequently happens on the old bridge.”

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