MY wife and I are Scottish and I am still, at almost 80 years of age, a registered civil engineer, a member of the several engineer bodies, and worked for a three-year period on the Forth Road Bridge as site engineer on the North Approach Viaduct. To date due to occurrences during my time on the Forth road Bridge I have asked certain questions regarding the cable strands in the main cables of the Forth Road Bridge, and neither ICE nor the concerned Consultants choose to provide any answers which only makes that matter more interesting.

Both my wife and I received official invitations to the Opening of the Queensferry Crossing, but due to me having a sudden short illness we could not travel home. We have however just spent three weeks in Fife and viewed and crossed the crossing frequently. The design looks stunning and it is the only place in the world where there are three major bridges together crossing the same river.

There have been congestion problems with the bridge. Note the delays was mainly due to cars with only very few trucks and virtually no passenger busses. The roadworks on both sides of the bridge are incomplete and there is virtually no signage to the Queensferry Crossing. Now at 70mph there is virtually no way that the traffic from the accessing lanes on to the M90 is going to safely merge with the main traffic flow in the two lanes of M90 which is the motorway over the new bridge.

As stated, many local people are commenting that although of a different visual design the crossing appears to merely be a copy of the Forth Road Bridge in traffic capacity. The Queensferry Crossing should almost certainly have had three, if not four lanes per carriageway, plus hard shoulders to allow for the ever-increasing traffic and possibly restricted traffic flow.

It should be noted that when the Forth Road Bridge was opened the traffic flowed smoothly as the roadworks were at least 95 per cent complete. The traffic flow across the new Queensferry Crossing is currently severely impeded.

It would therefore appear that possibly instead of being a “motorway bridge”, Police Scotland may well choose to impose a lower speed limit, possibly 50mph, even when the road construction has been completed on both the south and north sides.

It is understood that the conceptual planning for this bridge was being carried out by The Jacobs Arup Joint Venture and Transport Scotland since 2007 to develop the Forth Replacement Crossing Project (the Queensferry Crossing). Knowing this, and seeing the traffic backups, and road designs in reality, it would appear that the much-stated local opinion is possibly correct. Is this new bridge, the Queensferry Crossing, fit for purpose now, and into the future, as traffic flows steadily increase across the River Forth? Note that the concept and the visual impact along with the other two major bridges is stunning, however that does not answer the much asked question: if the Forth Road Bridge is fully refurbished, cables included, can the future capacity possibly be handled successfully?

The foregoing has been drawn from my very recent holiday to Fife, and personal experiences at the Queensferry Crossing, and the many statements made by local people, and also my own perspective as a very experienced registered professional/chartered civil engineer. There is no doubt however that although the locals may be correct, and there may be various possible faults, in combination with the two other great bridges across the River Forth at North and South Queensferry the overall view is breathtaking.
Geroge N Gray
via email