Work on the construction of the Forth Replacement Crossing has taken a giant leap forward as the first signs of the carriageway can now been seen moving out towards the Firth of Forth.
The huge structure, officially named the Queensferry Crossing after a public vote last June, is now taking shape with one of the new bridge carriageways overhanging South Queensferry’s Society Road.
Workers have been at the Forth Replacement Crossing (FRC) compound, at Springfield, since the project began two years ago and are now halfway through the four-year-long project, which is due to be completed by the end of 2016.
It is also on budget, coming in at an estimated cost of between £1.4bn and £1.45bn. Project director David Climie said: “We are now around the halfway point on the project and people can really start to see the Queensferry Crossing rising from the Forth.
“On the south side the approach viaduct is being pushed out above Society Road and the new Queensferry junction is on schedule to open this summer.
“On the water, progress on the three main towers is clearly visible to the public – the centre tower is currently around 36 metres, the north tower 20 metres and south tower 12 metres above the water.”
Mr Climie said the project “remains on schedule and under budget” and that the weather had not been problematic for the project so far.
“It has been a comparatively mild winter but low temperatures do not tend to impact on construction as much as high winds do, for instance,” he said.
Transport Minister Keith Brown, also praised the project’s progress as the 6000-tonne steel viaduct deck of the crossing has now extended nearly 200 metres since December 2013.
On a recent visit to the FRC site he said: “This is remarkable progress and the vast scale of the operation is even more spectacular when you are lucky enough to view it up close.
“In the months ahead the public really will start to notice the Queensferry Crossing taking shape.”
The deck itself is made up of 33-metre segments, weighing 72 tonnes, and arrives by road from Cleveland Bridge in Darlington.
Workers are currently in the process of putting these together to make a continuous section of 543 metres which involves a “push launch” process where each complete 3000-tonne viaduct is pulled across the piers.
Two sections of deck, one each for the northbound and southbound carriageway, make up the viaduct with the south viaduct eventually due to carry traffic to and from the south approach roads on to the main crossing.
When it is finished the cable-stayed bridge will have three single column towers and be 2.7km long with two general lanes of traffic and hard shoulders to help ease congestion caused by breakdowns.