Calls to widen ac­cess to new bridge for walk­ers

Huge de­mand for tick­ets puts pres­sure on Govern­ment to in­crease op­por­tu­ni­ties

The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and The Mearns Edition) - - News - leeza clark leclark@the­

The Scot­tish Govern­ment has come un­der pres­sure from MSPs to ex­tend the num­ber of days the Queens­ferry Cross­ing will be open to the pub­lic.

The £1.35 bil­lion bridge will open to traf­fic at the end of Au­gust and mem­bers of the pub­lic will have a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity to walk across it on Septem­ber 2 and 3.

Nearly a quar­ter of a mil­lion peo­ple en­tered a bal­lot to win one of 50,000 places.

Now MSP Murdo Fraser is call­ing for the Scot­tish Govern­ment to open the bridge to walk­ers for an­other day or two.

“There is huge ap­petite from the pub­lic to take the his­toric first steps across the new bridge,” he said.

“Un­like the Forth Road Bridge, there will be no pedes­trian ac­cess to the bridge so this will be the only op­por­tu­nity for many to walk across it.

“The bridge is al­ready months be­hind sched­ule and I fail to see the harm in clos­ing it for an ad­di­tional two days to ac­com­mo­date those whose names were not pulled from the bal­lot.

“The open­ing of the Queens­ferry Cross­ing is a his­toric mo­ment for Scot­land I would hope that the Scot­tish Govern­ment will al­low as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble to play a role in this and es­pe­cially those with a lo­cal con­nec­tion in Fife.”

Fel­low MSP Liz Smith added: “The com­mu­ni­ties bor­der­ing the bridge have had to cope with road­works and de­lays through­out the build and at the very least should be re­warded with an op­por­tu­nity to tra­verse the bridge.”

A Trans­port Scot­land spokesman said: “Around 45,000 in­di­vid­u­als have al­ready con­firmed their ac­cep­tance of the in­vi­ta­tion to par­tic­i­pate in the Queens­ferry Cross­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence and we are on track to con­clude the process this week, as planned.

“Around half of the en­trants to the bal­lot are from post code ar­eas lo­cal to the Queens­ferry Cross­ing and we ex­pect that to be re­flected in terms of the fi­nal se­lec­tion of suc­cess­ful par­tic­i­pants.”

He added the team had worked closely with the com­mu­nity coun­cils of North Queens­ferry, In­verkei­thing, Rosyth and Queens­ferry and District, New­ton and Kirk­lis­ton and will con­tinue that di­a­logue to en­sure that in ad­di­tion to hav­ing an op­por­tu­nity to en­ter the bal­lot, many lo­cal pupils, com­mu­nity groups and mem­bers of lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties have the op­por­tu­nity to take part in the open­ing cel­e­bra­tions.

“In ad­di­tion, there will be fur­ther op­por­tu­ni­ties for lo­cal par­tic­i­pa­tion in the of­fi­cial open­ing events, sep­a­rate from the Queens­ferry Cross­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence,” the spokesman added.

Pic­ture: An­drew Caw­ley.

Al­most a quar­ter of a mil­lion peo­ple en­tered a bal­lot to win one of the 50,000 places on the Queens­ferry Cross­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence which will see the bridge closed to traf­fic for two days to al­low mem­bers of the pub­lic to walk across it.

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