The official opening date of the Queensferry Crossing has been revealed.
Keith Brown confirmed that the crossing would open to traffic on August 30.
Responding to a question by Edinburgh Pentlands SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald, Keith Brown confirmed significant progress had been made in improving the areas of the Queensferry Crossing and its approach roads over the past three months.
Despite some challenging weather conditions Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors confirmed that it would be open from Wednesday 30 August 2017.
The bridge will then close to allow the public to take part in a ‘once in a lifetime’ chance to walk over the new bridge on September 2 and 3.
The bridge will transition to a motorway once the final public transport links to the north of the Forth Road Bridge are completed.
Speaking to workers Keith Brown said: “It is fitting to be able to make this announcement alongside some of those who built the Forth Road Bridge and those who are building the Queensferry Crossing.
“What is being achieved on the Forth today, like what was achieved 53 years ago, is a testament to the expertise and the endeavour of those who have designed and built these bridges.
“I am very pleased to be able to confirm the Queensferry Crossing will open August 30, 2017. The bridge will be used by vehicles up to September 1, before closing to allow the public the chance to walk across it as part of the Queensferry Crossing Experience on September 2 and 3.
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“This Queensferry Crossing Experience will allow for up to 50,000 people to have the once in a lifetime chance to walk across the Queensferry Crossing before it becomes a motorway with no pedestrian access.
“In order to manage access to the bridge there will be a ballot to decide who will have this unique opportunity to be one of the 50,000 people. I would encourage as many people as possible to enter and take part.
“The ballot will open from 9 AM on Tuesday June 20 until 1200 noon on Wednesday July 5, 2017. To enter the ballot people should visit the Queensferry Crossing Experience website: www.queensferrycrossingexperience.com”
He added: “This marks the beginning of the end of a 10 year process for this project. Starting with the early Forth Crossing studies, the Act of Parliament, design, procurement, through to work beginning on site in August 2011.
“Excitement and anticipation will build in the months ahead as people prepare to walk and drive over this bridge for the first time.”
Michael Martin, Project Director for the consortium building the Queensferry Crossing, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) said:
“The Queensferry Crossing is one of the world’s great bridges. It’s the largest bridge of its type and its fast track design and construction has presented many challenges. The safety of our workforce, who have worked relentlessly through the hostile weather conditions in the Forth estuary to deliver the earliest completion of this project, has always been our number one priority and it will continue to be so as move towards the completion of the project.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said: “The excitement really is building around the opening of this magnificent feat of engineering – the Queensferry Crossing.
“We are delighted that a date has now been announced. Scotland will become the world’s first destination to have three bridges spanning three centuries in one stunning location.
“The Forth Bridges are already icons of Scotland, recognised worldwide for their importance, and the addition of the Queensferry Crossing consolidates this global appeal.
“We very much look forward to welcoming the new bridge to our hearts as we have done with the two bridges before.”