Row over speed camera plan for Forth Road Bridge

The new crossing takes shape with the old bridge in the background. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
The new crossing takes shape with the old bridge in the background. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty
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A ROW has erupted after the Scottish Government’s transport agency announced plans to slash the speed limit and introduce cameras on the Forth Road Bridge without consulting its operators.

Transport Scotland said it will install average speed cameras on both sides of the bridge from the spring, cutting the speed limit from 50mph to 40mph, because it says drivers are being distracted by construction work on the Queensferry Crossing.

However, the bridge’s operator said that other than some “informal discussions”, it was never consulted.

Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) bosses denied that there was any evidence of drivers slowing down to look at the new bridge, and challenged Transport Scotland to produce evidence of an increase in accidents.

Speaking at the Scottish Parliament’s infrastructure and investment committee on Wednesday, project director for the new bridge David Climie told MSPs that average speed cameras were needed along the A90 and M90 because drivers are “slowing down on the Forth Road Bridge looking at what we’re doing”.

City transport leader Councillor Lesley Hinds, who also heads up Feta, said: “Feta is responsible for setting the speed limit on the Forth Road Bridge. Any reduction in this speed limit can only be implemented by Feta. We were therefore surprised to read comments made to MSPs suggesting that plans were already in place.

“We would also question Transport Scotland’s assertion that a reduction in speed limit is necessary due to distraction being caused by construction of the new bridge.

“As operators of the Forth Road Bridge we have seen no evidence that drivers are slowing down on the bridge and there has been no increase in accidents.”

The wrangle is set to be discussed at a Feta board meeting today.

Bridge bosses were backed by local councillor Alasdair Shields, who said he was “not aware of any issues with speeding on the bridge”.

Transport Scotland said the cameras had been discussed with Feta for a year, but “formalities” had still to be completed.

paris.gourtsoyannis@edinburghnews.com