Queensferry Crossing remains closed due to falling ice

The bridge, which connects Edinburgh and Fife, was shut on Monday night following reports of vehicles being hit by ice.

The Queensferry Crossing remains closed due to falling ice.

The bridge, which connects Edinburgh and Fife, was shut on Monday night following reports of vehicles being hit by ice due to the adverse weather.

On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson confirmed the crossing would remain on lockdown with a “hope to reopen later today if weather conditions are as forecast”.

A 35-mile diversion has been put in place via the Kincardine and Clackmannanshire bridges.

Following a meeting with engineers on the bridge on Tuesday, transport secretary Michael Matheson said a build-up of ice on towers and cables formed in “unique weather conditions” following Storm Ciara.

Mr Matheson said he appreciated the patience of frustrated motorists who have been redirected across the Forth.

He said engineers are “closely monitoring” the situation, adding: “We are doing all we can to mitigate the impacts of this closure.

“We continue to work closely with public transport providers to provide alternative transport and additional capacity.

“Additional buses are in operation, including additional bus services from rail stations which are experiencing higher than normal demand.”

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

Explaining the decision not to reopen the Forth Road Bridge to all traffic, rather than just public transport, Mr Matheson said it was because “it is currently undergoing significant renovation work on the main expansion joints and has a contraflow in operation”.

He added: “Opening the Forth Road Bridge up to general traffic is likely to result in increased congestion for all vehicles and leave the crossing vulnerable to lengthy delays as a result of any accidents or breakdowns.

“This would have a significant negative impact on journey times for public transport over the Forth.”

Mr Matheson defended the lack of action to stop ice falling from the bridge, saying its designers were planning to install ice sensors onto the structure “in the coming months” but no contract had yet been awarded for the work to be done.

Arguing the Queensferry Crossing “has given us much greater resilience than the old Forth Road Bridge”, he said there have been approximately 30 occasions where the new bridge has remained open when its predecessor would have been partially or fully shut.

The bridge’s closure comes amidst the Met Office’s yellow warning for snow and ice across the country.

Running until midday on Wednesday, forecasters said there is a small chance of travel delays and disruptions. Road users could also become stranded due to the snow showers and icy stretches.

Rural communities “could become cut off”, while those venturing out are being warned to watch out for icy surfaces.