Falling ice forces first Queensferry Crossing closure

The crossing connecting Edinburgh and Fife is closed to all traffic until further notice.

Shut: Queensferry Crossing closed until Wednesday.
Shut: Queensferry Crossing closed until Wednesday.

The Queensferry Crossing is expected to remain closed until Wednesday, with more heavy snow and strong winds due across Scotland.

The bridge, which connects Edinburgh and Fife, was shut for the first time in its short history on Monday night as a safety precaution due to ice and snow falling from cables.

Meanwhile, the Met Office has issued an amber warning for heavy snow in southern Scotland, predicting vehicles could become stranded and rural communities “cut off”.

Running from 2pm to 9pm on Tuesday, it warns of up to 10cm of snow and winds reaching 50mph, creating blizzard conditions and drifts.

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Up to eight vehicles were damaged as a result of the Queensferry Crossing ice falls, but there were not thought to have been any major injuries.

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said “a number of different factors coming together” had caused the issue.

He added: “Engineers have been closely monitoring and studying the unique weather conditions causing this issue with a build-up of snow and ice on the Queensferry Crossing.

“We are developing our understanding of these conditions, which involve a certain consistency of snow and/or sleet, wind speed and direction, interacting fluctuating low temperatures.

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“This is leading to an ice formation on the bridge’s towers and cables at low temperature which has subsequently fallen from the bridge when thawed.”

That closure, in both directions, is now due to remain until Wednesday and a diversion is in place via the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges.

It is the first time the £1.35bn bridge has been closed since it opened in 2017. The Forth Bridge has remained open for public transport only.

Mark Arndt, of the crossing’s operating company Amey, said: “The decision was taken to close the Queensferry Crossing due to the severe weather conditions and risk of falling ice and snow.

“We are aware of eight vehicles that suffered damage due to falling ice and snow, however there have been no injuries reported.

“We appreciate this closure will create disruption for drivers, however, we are asking drivers to use an alternative mode or route for their safety due to the continued weather conditions.”

There will be no ferry services on Tuesday to and from Ardorssan and Brodick as ferry operator CalMac carries out sea trials.

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Part of the M74 was closed after a lorry overturned but the affected section of the motorway has since reopened.

It comes after disruption throughout Monday in the wake of Storm Ciara, which battered parts of Scotland over the weekend.

Snow showers are set to continue to affect the country, particularly over high ground.

Lorry driver stranded with mobile home

A lorry driver delivering a mobile home to a holiday park in Fife has been left stranded at the closed Queensferry Crossing.

Stephen Brooks arrived at the Edinburgh side of the bridge at around 9.30am on Tuesday while transporting the prefabricated building from the SEC in Glasgow to Pettycur Bay Holiday Park in Kinghorn.

The 44-year-old of Hull, East Yorkshire, can only carry the abnormal load along a route that has been agreed with Police Scotland, meaning he could be stuck there until the crossing reopens.

He told the PA news agency: “I loaded this morning at the SEC going to the Pettycur Bay Holiday Park.

“If you were where I am at the bridge you could see it from here.

“I’m not annoyed, it’s part and parcel of doing abnormal loads. I totally understand why the bridge is closed. So I’m not annoyed – yet – speak to me again at tea time.”

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