MOTORISTS are being warned of “considerable” traffic disruption as one of Scotland’s busiest roads is closed over three weekends as part of work on the Forth Replacement Crossing project.
Demolition work will result in two major roads into Edinburgh, the M90 and A90, being shut off to all traffic south of Echline Junction, with motorists urged to avoid the vicinity of the Forth Road Bridge – which will remain open for local access only.
The move will come into force from 8pm on Saturdays 24, 31 October and 14 November – before roads reopen again at 6am on the following Mondays at the latest.
Motorists have been told to expect “considerable delays” as weekend traffic is diverted along the M9 – or A904-5 for non-motorway traffic – Kincardine Bridge and the A985. Local access between South Queensferry, Kirkliston and Dalmeny will remain available.
Closures will allow for the demolition of the B800 bridge located between South Queensferry and Kirkliston, and mark another milestone in the progress of the new Queensferry Crossing.
The £1.4 billion crossing, which is due to open in 2016, was ordered by ministers because of corrosion of the main suspension cable on the Forth Road Bridge.
Steven Brown, Transport Scotland’s roads and infrastructure manager, said the B800 bridge would be completely demolished over the course of the three weekends – avoiding Remembrance Sunday.
He said: “We will work closely with our contractor to ensure every effort is made to reduce the duration of the closure and to lift the restrictions as early as is possible.
“During the closure the Forth Road Bridge will remain open for local access only. All road users are advised that considerable delays are expected in the vicinity of the Forth during these closures.”
Communities around the Firth of Forth fear the move could lead to “rat running” as drivers attempt to avoid delays by cutting through residential roads.
Terry Airlie, secretary of the Queensferry and District Community Council, said “proper planning” was crucial to avoid backed-up traffic.
He said: “The fear when anything like this happens is always that Queensferry will be affected by rat running. That would be the big concern – but we understand the big picture. This is something that has to be done.
“Any time there is any issue on the current bridge the traffic backs up very quickly. We would hope that with proper planning this time around it will be managed better.”