Fury over works kept secret from motorists
Months of delays because of repairs Government knew about before bridge was opened
Motorists face months of Queensferry Crossing delays as a result of works that have been kept hidden from the public.
This week’s partial closure of the Fife to Edinburgh link was blamed on botched resurfacing at the bridge’s joints, which the government knew about before the opening in September.
A senior Scottish Government official told MSPs there were likely to be further lane restrictions until September 2018, when the contractor is still liable for all snagging works.
Opposition MSPs have criticised the Scottish Government for not telling motorists about the need for the closures once the bridge was open.
Michelle Rennie, director of major transport infrastructure projects at the Scottish Government, said the five-day partial closure, which starts tonight, was down to faults with the road surfacing around the bridge’s joints.
“It’s a workmanship issue, the design is correct, but the surfacing wasn’t laid to the tolerances set out in the design,” Ms Rennie told MSPs. She admitted the issue was known about in August, before the bridge was opened to huge fanfare, but said the response to it had not been
To make matters worse, we now know thereare potentially more closures to come. JAMIE GREENE
decided. Tory MSP Jamie Greene asked why the public was only told about it on Monday when the Government knew about the surfacing issues before the bridge was opened.
Ms Rennie replied: “The contractor hadn’t designed the solution to this until probably a couple of weeks ago and like I say the thing that causes the greatest disruption on the road network is driver confusion, so what we didn’t want to do is put out dates and change those dates.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Greene said: “At no point were road users, whose daily lives are now thrown into disarray, informed that there were impending closures. To make matters worse, we now know that there are potentially more closures to come.”
Alex Cole-Hamilton, the Lib Dem MSP, said: “It is an insult to the public that ministers didn’t tell them closures were on the way. We need to know exactly what other works are in the pipeline to make the bridge fully operational and how this will impact upon its users.”
Southbound traffic will be diverted along the Forth Road Bridge during the works. They are due to start at 10pm tonight and finish at 6am on Wednesday. The speed limit will be 40mph on both bridges during this time.
The delay is estimated at “two to four minutes at morning and evening peaks”.
Ms Rennie told the rural economy and connectivity committee it had always been made clear there will be “finishing and snagging works required”, which could include fixing mechanical and electrical issues.
On why they were not carried out before the opening, she said: “There was no need to delay opening for that sort of thing. These are relatively normal.”
Drivers are left frustrated by long tailbacks to the north of the crossing.