Bridge closure congestion on M9 in Falkirk causing concern

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Drivers are being urged to take care on the M9 due to the extra traffic following the Forth Road Bridge closure after another accident.

A trailer carrying livestock overturned on the road just after junction 6 at Grangemouth yesterday (Wednesday). This was the third crash in two weeks since the bridge was shut forcing more traffic to travel along the motorway to cross the Kincardine or Clackmannanshire bridges to reach Fife and the north of Scotland.

The first collision happened on December 2, the day after the closure was announced, involving four cars, while the other was on December 7 with a three-car crash during the morning rush hour.

With increased congestion, especially at peak times, Police Scotland has issued safety advice and say it is a “challenging time”.

Superintendent Fraser Candlish said: “With an increase in traffic on the M9, it’s important that drivers check journey times when planning their journey, and be patient with other motorists.

“We have been patrolling the diversion routes every day since the closure and I would thank drivers for their patience. I know it’s a challenging time for everyone but if we all play our part, any hold ups can be kept to a minimum.

“Our primary focus is to keep people safe and I would urge all motorists to pay close attention to their driving, particularly when on a route they don’t usually take or when the weather is poor.”

Falkirk Council says it is working closely with public transport providers to assess demand and capacity, while its roads team is constantly monitoring the impact of changed traffic flows and making improvements where possible.

There are also concerns the bridge closure is having an adverse impact on the local economy in the area and the council is asking businesses to report any issues.

A spokesperson said: “Following the closure of the Forth Road Bridge, which is scheduled to last until the New Year, Falkirk Council is concerned about the impact this closure and the associated disruption is having on businesses within the Falkirk area.”

E-mail business@falkirk.gov.uk with the subject Bridge Closure and the council will feed any concerns back to the Scottish Government.

Meanwhile, under pressure Transport Minister Derek MacKay has welcomed news that a Holyrood committee is to hold an inquiry into the bridge closure that will focus on the structural defect that caused it.

He said: “I welcome the ICI committee’s decision to hold an inquiry, once the bridge has reopened, and I look forward to participating in that process. From day one I have been open and accountable.