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Long delays as sightseers flock to Queensferry Crossing

Motorists warned to expect tailbacks on both sides of the new £1.35bn bridge.

Traffic: Bridge opened around 2am on Wednesday.
Traffic: Bridge opened around 2am on Wednesday. PA Images

Motorists travelling on the new Queensferry Crossing have been hit with major delays on its first day in operation.

Drivers had previously been warned to expect tailbacks as sightseers flocked to the £1.35bn bridge, which opened to traffic at 2am on Wednesday.

By rush hour, drivers were facing long delays in both directions, with Traffic Scotland tweeting: "This is not just commuters heading for work."

Later, the organisation tweeted: "LOTS of visitors experiencing @FRC--Queensferry. Delays on all approaches."

Delays and tailbacks continued throughout the day, with lengthy waits on both the north and southbound approaches to the crossing.

The bridge was earlier hit by its first breakdown when a lorry stopped at about 7am.

Traffic Scotland tweeted: "First breakdown on the @FRC--Queensferry. Mostly on hard shoulder but bum sticking out... slightly!"

The crossing has an initial 40mph limit which will gradually be increased until the final 70mph limit is in place.

A Transport Scotland spokesman said: "As predicted, due to the popularity of this new bridge, there are large additional volumes of traffic on the Queensferry Crossing, with drivers wanting to experience the new bridge for themselves, in addition to the normal morning commuter traffic.

"The bridge itself remained free-flowing despite an early breakdown. The driver involved was able to make use of the new hard shoulder and was assisted off the bridge by our trunk road incident support service.

"Although we are aware of delays on approach roads to the crossing, these are mainly down to the volume of traffic and drivers getting used to the new road layout."

The bridge will serve about 24 million vehicles each year, easing the strain on the old Forth Road Bridge, which will now be used for buses, taxis and bikes.

Economy secretary Keith Brown was among the first to cross the bridge in the early hours of Wednesday.

He said: "It's fantastic. You immediately notice coming over the new bridge - as traffic is now doing - the absence of the 'slap, slap, slap' that you get on the existing bridge.

"It's a very smooth passage right across the Queensferry Crossing. Also, just the excitement of looking at this fantastic new structure from a new angle.

"I think it will be extremely well-received by the people in Scotland who are going to use this bridge."

The 1.7-mile crossing has a projected lifespan of 120 years but could last longer as it has been "designed for maintenance" to ensure it runs smoothly for decades.

Linking the Lothians and Fife, the new crossing is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.

On Monday night, a collection of vintage, modern and electric vehicles drove on the structure in a procession to mark the symbolic handover from contractors to the Scottish Government.

It was followed by a light show across the crossing to celebrate the completion of the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland in a generation.

In the early hours of Friday, the new bridge will be closed again to prepare for a public walk on the crossing and a royal visit from the Queen on Monday.

A total of 50,000 invited members of the public will have the chance to walk across it on Saturday and Sunday.

Motorists will be able to drive across it again when it reopens on Thursday September 7.

https://stv.tv/news/features/1396363-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-queensferry-crossing/ | default

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