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Forth Road Bridge to remain closed to all vehicles as recovery operation continues

Published: 11 Jan 2017 16:55
Part of:
Transport

Repairs underway but recovery challenging due to weather conditions

Motorists are being warned to expect more delays this evening following the closure of the Forth Road Bridge earlier today.

Work to remove an overturned HGV is continuing as Amey’s team of recovery specialists battle high winds, and work to repair the damaged central grillage is well underway. The bridge remains closed to all traffic in both directions after an HGV travelling northbound overturned in high winds and blew onto the southbound carriageway. Signs warning that the bridge was closed to high sided vehicles were in place at the time as wind gusts measured over 70mph.

Police Scotland has confirmed that a 54-year-old man has been charged in connection with this morning’s incident. He sustained minor injuries. Following yesterday’s SGORR call the haulage industry was contacted by Police Scotland to advise of the severe weather warnings in place. Traffic Scotland has confirmed that high wind warnings had been issued and that VMS signage was in place at the time of the incident.

Southbound traffic is currently being diverted from the M90 Motorway at the Admiralty junction onto the A985 to Kincardine for onward travel. Northbound traffic on approach to the FRB is being diverted off the A90 at Echline and can travel along the A904 to join the M9 at Junction 2 or be turned around to travel to M9 J1A. This morning traffic was very busy in the surrounding area, especially on approach to Edinburgh on the M9 at Newbridge, the A985 on approach to the Kincardine Bridge and at Kilbagie Roundabout.

The public is being urged to avoid the bridge and surrounding area or allow extra time during this evening’s peak. It is hoped that the Bridge will reopen to traffic in both directions tomorrow morning, however this will very much depend on overnight weather conditions. The public are also being asked to check travel bulletins in the morning before travelling.

Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf said:

“This morning we witnessed a very serious incident on the Forth Road Bridge and the consequences of ignoring travel advice during severe weather warnings. Luckily no one was seriously injured, however a great deal of disruption has been caused and it is an extreme but timely reminder of the importance of listening to advice and checking travel bulletins and VMS messaging before travelling.

“Once again the engineers and Forth Road Bridge team find themselves in the spotlight and I am hopeful they will be able to get the bridge reopened to traffic as soon as possible. They are carrying out very challenging repairs in difficult conditions and the damage to the central reservation is significant.

“We should therefore be prepared for further delays and disruption today. Amey are hopeful that the bridge will be able to reopen in both directions on Thursday morning but this is heavily dependent on weather conditions, and I would again urge the public to check local travel bulletins, radio and social media in the morning before travelling.

“More widely there are a number of severe weather warnings still in place for much of the country. The conditions will inevitably lead to some difficult driving conditions. Gritting teams will be out across the period to help keep the trunk roads moving. Gritters will also be patrolling at strategic locations on the network to make sure that they can respond to any emerging issues.

“Key routes are being monitored across our network of weather stations and live cameras and the Traffic Scotland National Traffic Control Centre will take all of this information and send it out to road users through the website and Traffic Scotland twitter feed on a 24/7 basis.

“We would ask that people keep the conditions in mind when they are making their travel plans and leave plenty of time. We are making as much information available as possible to allow the public to make informed decisions.  The winter treatments page on the Traffic Scotland website has details of which routes are being treated and our Trunk Road Gritter Tracker lets road users see where gritters have been out in the last 24 hours.

“Travel operators websites will have all of the relevant information on ferries, rail and air and Traffic Scotland has a webpage with all of these links. The advice is to check before travel to make sure that you get to your destination safely.”

Mark Arndt, Amey’s Operating Company Representative for the Forth Road Bridge said:

“High winds are continuing to pose a challenge as our crews work flat out to try and remove the HGV from the south bound carriageway and complete the welding repairs needed on the central grillage.

“We will be working through the night and will take advantage of any available improvements in the weather; our primary focus is getting the bridge safely reopened. In the meantime, advise motorists to avoid the area if they can and leave plenty of time for their journey.”