New bridge has already spared some drivers 20 problem journeys

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The Queensferry Crossing has only been open 16 months, but motorists shouldn’t forget the often severe disruption in the past on the Forth Road Bridge.

That was the message this week from Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson in the wake of new figures showing continued improvement in reliability for the new bridge.

Mr Matheson, who is Transport Secretary, said: “The wind shielding on the Queensferry Crossing is doing exactly what it was intended to do.

“There have now been 20 occasions since the new bridge opened when the Forth Road Bridge would have had to close to high sided vehicles.

“This improved reliability is delivering benefits for the economy, businesses and commuters”.

He added: “Around this time last year the initial speed limits on the bridge were lifted and followed by motorway regulations coming into force in the early part of this year.

“Since then traffic flows have continued to settle down.

“Now we are seeing consistent journey times in both directions over the Forth - it takes seven to eight minutes in normal traffic conditions and around 15 minutes in both directions at peak times.

“These journey times are now at the level we would expect for a road of this type and speed limit in the prevailing traffic conditions”.

Martin Reid, Policy Director of the Road Haulage Association said the bridge has been “absolutely vital” in maintaining the fluid movement of goods.

He said: “Our industry makes a massive contribution to Scotland’s GDP and the importance of its supply chain cannot be overstated, but without fluid movement around the road network then our task is made all the more difficult.

“The Queensferry Crossing is a vital connection for deliveries to ports, retail parks, supermarkets, distribution centres and distilleries across the whole of the east side of Scotland as well as being a vital arterial route for our exports moving south.

“We saw during ‘the Beast from the East’ how delays in deliveries can affect our shelves in a very short time and so keeping the Queensferry Crossing open helps us keep the shelves stocked, medical supplies delivered and the world turning.”