Queensferry Crossing: £1.35bn Scottish bridge opens to first motorists

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Drivers honked their horns in the early hours of this morning as they used Scotland’s Queensferry Crossing for the first time.

The spaectacular £1.35 billion bridge, with an initial 40mph speed limit to account for “driver distraction”, opened shortly before 2am on Wednesday after traffic was diverted from the neighbouring Forth Road Bridge.

A long procession followed police vehicles, with many of those behind the wheel sounding their horns and blowing whistles as they travelled over it.

Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown was among the first to cross it.

First use: Motorists cross the bridge first thing on Wednesday (PA)

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.”

Distracting: A temporary speed limit of 40mph has been set over fears drivers may lose control when using the new crossing (Getty)

He added: “It’s just a stunning bridge to look at, more so in the daytime. Not only is this the best bridge in the world, but it sits with two other bridges. A different bridge from each of three different centuries in the same location. There’s nowhere else in the world I can think of like that.”

Opening: The new Queensferry Crossing with the old bridge in the background (PA)

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

New link: The 1.7-mile bridge connects the Lothians and Fife (Getty)

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

Launch: Construction of the crossing began in 2011 (Getty)

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 after it has reopened on Thursday, September 7.

The crossing is essentially an extension of the M90 motorway across the Forth with a 70mph speed limit, although operators said an initial 40mph limit will be in place when the bridge first opens to take account of “driver distraction”.

The need for a new bridge emerged in 2004 when inspections of the Forth Road Bridge’s main cables found a loss of strength.

Additional reporting by PA


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