NICOLA Sturgeon accused Ruth Davidson of spreading “misinformation” over the snagging work needed on the Queensferry Crossing.

In a heated exchange at First Minister’s Questions, the Tory leader said the SNP chief had pushed through the opening of the bridge in the summer, claiming it “as a symbol of Scottish National Party competence”.

But now that there seemed to be a problem, she added, the government was passing the buck.

Work started late last night on “identified snagging work” and is due to finish by 6am on Wednesday December 6. Traffic heading towards Edinburgh will be forced to use the old Forth Road Bridge.

Earlier in the week MSPs were told surfacing problems on the southbound carriageway of the £1.35 billion bridge were caused by a workmanship error.

The contract allows for snagging works to take place up until next September.

Davidson told the Scottish Parliament: “In September, it was job done and pats on the back all round but, on Monday, we were told that another five days of work would be needed. Yesterday, those five days became another 10 months of possible disruption.

“Does the First Minister not see that it is the dripping out of that kind of information rather than simply levelling with people that is damaging the public’s trust?” Davidson asked.

Sturgeon pointed out that Davidson’s colleagues had complained “bitterly” when the bridge’s opening was delayed by 10 weeks.

She added: “Anybody who has ever moved into a new house knows that snagging is required on construction projects. There is snagging work to be done.

“The project director told Parliament in June that there would be a period of three to six months of snagging work. That is being carried out.”

The SNP leader said it was “completely and utterly inaccurate” for Davidson to say five days had become 10 months.

It would only be this immediate work that required daytime and peak-time lane closures.

If other work requires lane closures, they will be closed at night, the First Minister promised, adding that all further work would be done in a way that “minimises inconvenience” to the public.

There was also some disagreement about when the Scottish Government knew the bridge would have to be closed.

Transport Scotland told a Holyrood committee that issues with road surfacing were known about in August – before the crossing’s opening – but a solution was not found until a “couple of weeks’’ ago.

Sturgeon said ministers were only alerted a week ago.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, in whose North East Fife constituency the bridge lies, was sceptical about the need for such major snagging work.

“Who spends more than a billion pounds on a bridge then closes it weeks later?” he asked.

People who depend on the bridge over the Forth have been commendably patient, Rennie argued, but “this is now the third Christmas of disruption”.

Sturgeon rubbished this, saying the lane closures would be over by the first week in December.

“Let us stop mis-characterising what is happening,” she said.