A recent smooth trip across the Queensferry Crossing made me think back to its construction period, and the issues that led to this new bridge joining the existing two bridges across the Forth, near North and South Queensferry.
Crossing the Queensferry Crossing, August 2020
The Forth Bridge, the red railway bridge that I often feature, opened in 1890 and is still operational. Back in 1894 it carried 26,451 passenger trains, plus 18,777 goods trains. Race forward to 2000, and it carried 54,080 passenger trains and 6240 freight trains. A busy line and a tremendous engineering feat, which was recognised when it joined the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2015.
The other bridge is the Forth Road Bridge, opened in 1964, then the fourth longest in the world and the longest outside the United States. It was referred to as the Guid Passage. Almost every part of the bridge has undergone considerable strengthening and repair work in its life, but as we moved into the 21st century it was suffering more frequent problems. Inspections in 2004 revealed massive corrosion and a need for major work that would significantly impact traffic flow.
This led to the decision to build a new road bridge, with construction work starting in 2011. The first two years were underground and under water, and the towers didn’t emerge until 2013.
Whenever I was in the area, I popped along to see how construction was going, though finding a good viewpoint was not always easy. It was common to find that the Crossing side of the Forth Road Bridge pedestrian walkway was often closed.
But here are a few images of its growth, from its still naked towers in 2015, to its completion in 2017.
A Queensferry Crossing tower under construction, visible beyond the Forth Road Bridge, March 2015
The Queensferry Crossing opened 31 August 2017, and the Forth Road Bridge is now only for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. The Queensferry Crossing is road traffic only. The original plans had been to have extra lanes devoted to public transport and pedestrians, but the cost was too high so the bridge is narrower than initially planned, and the Forth Road Bridge will remain open to provide those other services.
Forth Road Bridge and Queensferry Crossing, just days before the opening, London, August 2017
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 22 August 2020
Posted as part of Photo a Week: Nostalgic