Forth Road Bridge £5.9m repairs work starts next month

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Work to replace the main expansion joints on the Forth Road Bridge will begin on Monday, November 12.

The east footpath will be closed to the public from then until late January, and pedestrians and cyclists will be directed to use the west footpath instead.

Work on the much larger joints in the main carriageways is expected to begin in late January.

Traffic on the bridge will be restricted to a single lane in each direction for most of 2019 while work on the carriageways is in progress.

Joints in the west footpath will be replaced once work on the carriageways is complete.

Journey times for vehicles using the public transport corridor over the Forth Road Bridge will not be affected, and no diversions will be needed.

The Forth Road Bridge’s main expansion joints were originally scheduled to be replaced in 2009, in what operaror Amey says would have been by far the most disruptive maintenance project in the bridge’s history.

This was despite plans to maximise traffic flow by building temporary overbridges across the joints.

HGVs would have had to divert to Kincardine for the duration of the works, and traffic on the bridge would have been reduced to a single lane in each direction while the overbridges were constructed and dismantled.

In December 2008 the Forth Estuary Transport Authority took the opportunity to postpone the works when the Scottish Government confirmed its timetable for construction of the Queensferry Crossing.

Failsafe devices were installed for safety, along with improved maintenance access to allow an enhanced regime of monitoring and inspection to be implemented until the joints could eventually be replaced.

The project will now cost £5.9 million – less than half the £13.7 million cost when these works were originally tendered in 2008.

This saving is said to be largely due to the Queensferry Crossing, meaning expensive overbridging works are no longer required.

Contractor American Bridge International has been appointed to carry out the works, with Forth Bridges operating company Amey managing and supervising the project on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Mark Arndt, Amey’s account director for the Forth Bridges Unit, said: “The Queensferry Crossing has already delivered a major benefit by sparing the public the immense disruption that would have been caused if these works had gone ahead in 2009.

“It will also allow us to deliver these works at a significantly reduced cost, and avoid the economic impact of an extended closure to HGVs such as we saw during the emergency repairs of winter 2015-16, when the Road Haulage Association estimated the cost to the industry at over £600,000 per day”.