Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Traffic relief… Forth Road Bridge opens to everyone today (apart from lorries)

The Forth Road Bridge is to reopen to vehicles except HGVs ahead of schedule
The Forth Road Bridge is to reopen to vehicles except HGVs ahead of schedule

The Forth Road Bridge will reopen today – but remain closed to lorries for weeks.

The crucial crossing was shut to all traffic on December 4, causing chaos for commuters, families and businesses.

Work to repair a crack in the structure had been expected to be completed by the new year, but Transport Minister Derek Mackay announced yesterday that it had been finished ahead of schedule.

But in a “devastating blow” to haulage firms, he revealed the bridge would remain closed to heavier vehicles until at least mid-February.

Businesses across the north and north-east have been suffering as a result of the closure, with some freight companies in the region losing hundreds of pounds on journeys south.

Mr Mackay said: “I am pleased that we are now able to reopen the bridge to 90% of traffic, well ahead of schedule.

“Following rigorous testing and inspection of the temporary repair, experts have recommended the bridge is now ready to open to all traffic except HGVs.”

Vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes will not be allowed back on the crossing until permanent repair work is in place, which is expected to take six weeks, depending on the weather and no further defects being found.

Ministers said they would discuss with hauliers the operational support that can be offered during the period when they cannot use the bridge.

But they have said they will scrap an HGV priority lane on the current diversion, which runs over the Kincardine Bridge.

The Freight Transport Association’s director of policy, Karen Dee, said First Minister Nicola Surgeon had offered reassurance that the bridge would reopen to all vehicles on January 4 and that yesterday’s announcement was a “devastating blow for our members”.

She said: “The additional costs incurred by the 50-mile diversion are significant, especially when contracts have already been signed and there is no opportunity to recoup the money.

“We need to ensure that everything possible is done to minimise further disruption for transport operators and, more importantly, get the bridge open at the earliest opportunity.”

Scottish Labour’s Jackie Baillie has demanded the Scottish Government outline what compensation will be made available to hauliers as a result of the closure.

Mr Mackay said there was “no choice” but to keep the bridge shut to HGVs.

He said: “While HGVs account for 9% of overall traffic on the bridge, they represent 32% of the weight the bridge carries.

“We therefore have no choice but to accept the recommendation of the engineers.”

Chartered engineer Mark Arndt, of bridge operator Amey, said: “Public safety has been at the heart of everything we’ve been doing and work will be progressing over the coming weeks on the additional strengthening works required to enable HGVs to start safely using the bridge.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in