The Forth Road Bridge is ready to reopen to heavy goods vehicles at 23:00 tonight after complex repair works were completed last night as planned and monitoring showed the load-bearing capacity of the structure has been restored.
New brackets and cables are now taking the load at the critical northeast, southeast and southwest main span tower legs. Monitoring and tests carried out by Amey engineers confirmed that the bridge can now take unrestricted HGVs and operate safely.
This means that the bridge will be open to the same classes of vehicle that could use the bridge prior to the closure in December 2015 – i.e. all vehicles up to 44 tonnes, and escorted abnormal loads up to 150 tonnes. The usual restrictions on high-sided vehicles will apply during windy weather and with winds of up to 50mph forecast at some points tonight, drivers are advised to make a final check before travel.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “The team has pulled out all of the stops to get the bridge ready to reopen as soon as possible. The inspections and the monitoring equipment that we have on the bridge show it is operating well and that HGVs can run on it again.”
Mark Arndt, Amey’s Operating Company Representative for the Forth Bridges Unit, said: “We’re delighted to be able to fully reopen the bridge to HGVs. I’d like to thank the travelling public, hauliers and HGV drivers for the patience and understanding that they have shown during this unprecedented time.
“The project to repair and strengthen the bridge has been large and complex, mobilised at very short notice at the most difficult time of year. Great credit is due to all the staff and contractors involved.”