Open to general traffic, subject to normal motorway restrictionsRoad User Guide
Due to essential works the East footpath is currently closed. The West footpath/cycleway is open for cyclists and pedestrians.Access Restrictions
The 4th March 2023 marks the 133rd anniversary of the opening of the Forth Bridge and it’s also UNESCO World Engineering Day. This Victorian engineering icon was opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at a ceremony featuring a final golden rivet on 4th March 1890. In 2015, UNESCO inscribed the Forth Bridge as Scotland’s sixth UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Today, the custodian of Forth Bridge is Network Rail. Here’s how they go about monitoring the condition of the bridge to ensure that this well-loved symbol of Britain’s industrial, scientific, architectural and transport heritage and Scotland's engineering pedigree and ingenuity is well-maintained for the next generation.
The Forth Bridge can be exposed to some harsh conditions in the Firth of Forth and Network Rail works with the team at Amey for inspections. Given the scale, the bridge is split into 14 sections, each having an annual visual inspection. Detailed examinations happen every six years and that involves a rope access team scaling the bridge from top to bottom.
It’s a tactile examination, so examiners physically touch all parts of the bridge to check its condition. Depending on where that section is, it can take up to four months to complete. Once it’s done, a report is sent to Network Rail’s structural engineers to evaluate.
Alongside the visual and detailed examinations, they also check below the waterline, instructing more frequent inspections on certain areas.
Rest assured, even at 133 years old, the bridge is in great condition. The most recent major refurbishment took place from 2001 - 2011 by maintenance contractor Balfour Beatty, with more recent work on the approach span.
Explore the website for lots more information about the Forth Bridge The Forth Bridge (theforthbridges.org)
Photographs courtesy of Network Rail Scotland and Amey.
It takes in many points of historic interest, introduces local tales and folklore, and offers some incredible panoramic views.
A circular five mile route, the trail can easily be completed in a day. Take a picnic or stop off to sample the cafes along the way.
Walk or cycle, experience an epic train ride across The Forth Bridge and enjoy a boat trip on the Firth of Forth.