About 10,000 local school pupils and community group members walked across the Queensferry Crossing yesterday in the last event before it permanently opens to traffic.
It comes after a week featuring a light show, public walk and a royal visit to mark the opening of the £1.35 billion bridge.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney joined pupils and staff from the 13 schools located nearest to the crossing along with 3,000 people from six community councils.
The bridge across the Firth of Forth will open to traffic on Thursday with the Forth Road Bridge closing to ordinary vehicles.
Mr Swinney said: “The Queensferry Crossing is one of the biggest infrastructure projects of its kind in the world. To go from inception to opening in under a decade is a momentous feat of planning and engineering. The project has had a particularly strong focus on community liaison and hosted over 70,000 visitors, including 23,000 school pupils, at its dedicated contact and education centre.
“It is therefore fantastic that so many children and representatives from those communities living closest to the bridge are being given the opportunity to celebrate in this historic occasion and create a lasting legacy for the future.”
The opening of the Queensferry Crossing will see the Forth Road Bridge closed to regular traffic after having carried nearly 850 million vehicles and been open since the Rolling Stones released their debut album.
Drivers will today have their last chance to cross the Forth Road Bridge after 53 years, with traffic due to switch to the Queensferry Crossing for the final time early tomorrow.
With it will go the characteristic “badum, badum, badum” sound of their tyres going over the increasingly uneven deck joints, whose edges have been worn down over the years.
It will also end an encore for the bridge, which re-opened to vehicles last Friday following a two-day breather while the Queensferry Crossing welcomed its first traffic.
It swung back into action to enable more than 60,000 people to walk over new crossing and its official opening by the Queen on Monday, the anniversary of her opening the original bridge in 1964.
From tomorrow, cyclists and walkers will have the bridge to themselves for at least a month while new road links are completed for its role as a “public transport corridor” - carrying buses and taxis.
That is expected to start sometime between the middle of October and the beginning of November, when the Queensferry Crossing will become a motorway.
Neil Greig, the Scottish-based policy and research director of motoring group IAM RoadSmart, said: “It will no doubt breath a slightly puzzled sigh of relief at the sudden loss of so much traffic, but at least it can look forward to some pampering and loving attention from its faithful engineers to give it a mid-life makeover – well I hope it’s still got a few decades left in it.”
Mark Arndt, Forth bridges unit account director for Amey, which runs both bridges for the Scottish Government said: “The Forth Road Bridge has provided a vital link in Scotland’s strategic road network for 53 years, carrying over double the weight and volume of traffic its designers anticipated. “Over those years many good men and women have worked hard to keep it safe and open to traffic, and we are proud to have been part of that history.”