Queensferry Crossing reopens fully after falling ice risk prompted closure

Transport officials have reopened the Queensferry Crossing this morning, after snowfall last night prompted its closure in both directions.

By Conor Marlborough
Thursday, 21st January 2021, 11:21 am

BEAR Southeast Trunk Roads, which maintains the bridge, cited “a risk of falling ice” as it announced its decision in the early hours of the morning.

Traffic Scotland blamed “severe weather conditions” for the closure, and asked people to only travel “if essential”.

At 9:20am, however, the group announced that the northbound carriageway of the bridge had reopened to traffic.

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The southbound lanes remained closed for a further hour-and-a-half, with traffic instead being diverted via the A985 Kincardine Bridge.

It comes after the Met Office imposed an Amber Weather warning across much of southern and central Scotland amid heavy snow showers.

One driver called the decision not to reroute traffic over the Forth Road Bridge “ridiculous”, while another wrote: “Why are they not using Forth Road Bridge as diversion? A 50 mile detour for hospital workers.... Thanks!”

Dean Lockart, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, called the closure “a national embarrassment.”

It is not the first time that the £1 billion bridge, which opened in 2017, has been shut by officials this winter.

‘’Yet again the ‘wrong type of ice’ has closed the crossing, despite assurances that ice sensors could be fitted to the structure would prevent the situation from reoccurring.

‘’Constituents in Fife are absolutely furious that they are yet again faced with massive disruption caused by what the SNP termed as the ‘best bridge in the world’.

‘’It is not good enough.’’

Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland’s South East Unit Bridges Manager, said: “The safety of bridge users comes first and we therefore made the decision to temporarily close the Queensferry Crossing when we identified a risk of falling ice.

“We had already mobilised additional ice patrols in response to the weather forecast and the bridge was closed at 04:00 when staff observed ice falling from the structure.

“The risk has now passed, and it is safe to reopen the bridge. We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this closure.”

It is not the first time that the £1 billion bridge, which opened in 2017, has been shut by officials this winter. In December 2020, falling chunks of ice that had accumulated on its support towers also prompted its closure.

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