The highly anticipated Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic in the early hours on Wednesday, kicking off a week of celebrations for the new bridge. Its £1.35bn price tag means that the publicly-funded, 1.7 mile crossing, is the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation.
The new bridge will be the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, taking a large proportion of the traffic that currently uses the 53-year-old Forth Road Bridge, becoming the main through route between Edinburgh and Fife.
Queenferry Crossing’s opening will come as a welcome addition for both locals and tourists alike, helping to ease pressure on the Forth Bridge, which has been dogged by maintenance problems for more than a decade. The Forth Bridge will remain though, serving as a crossing for pedestrians, cyclists and, eventually buses. This will leave the new bridge free to accommodate an estimated 24 million vehicles a year.
Plans for the Construction of Queensferry Crossing were first announced in 2007 as a way of easing traffic and congestion in the area, with work beginning in 2011. The new bridge has benefited from key improvements in engineering, enabling it to be fitted with wind barriers which can withstand heavy gusts, allowing it to stay open in all weathers. Additionally, it has been fitted with around 1,000 sensors, which will give advanced warning of any problems, so that maintenance teams can pre-empt potential issues.
A week of planned events will give locals the chance to walk across the bridge before it is officially opened to motorists on Thursday 7th September.
Image copyright: © VisitScotland / Airborn Lens