THERE are “no plans” to put up signs directing motorists to the Queensferry Crossing instead of the Forth Road Bridge – even though they could face fines for driving on the old bridge.
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said there was no need for signs because the new £1.3 billion crossing was not a tourist destination.
Edinburgh Western Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton called the Scottish Government’s stance “astonishing”.
Earlier this year it was reported up to 100 cars a day were using the Forth Road Bridge even though it is meant to be a public transport corridor reserved for buses, cycles and pedestrians. And in the summer police said they were going to start issuing £50 fixed penalty notices to the offending drivers.
Mr Cole-Hamilton tabled a question asking government when Transport Scotland would introduce signs in Edinburgh and Fife “to direct appropriate vehicles to the Queensferry Crossing to replace the signage that directs all traffic to the Forth Road Bridge”.
Mr Matheson replied: “Signage is provided on the Scottish Trunk Road Network to towns and cities and as the Queensferry Crossing is not in itself a destination there are no current plans to provide signage.
“When the Forth Road Bridge was constructed it was considered to be a destination and as such appeared on tourist road signs.”
The Queensferry Crossing opened in August last year, but snagging work continued well into this year and painting of underside of the road deck is not due to be completed until December 2019, though it not expected to disrupt traffic.
Mr Cole-Hamilton was shocked at the answer he received to his question about road signs. He said: “This is just astonishing – that a year and a half after the opening of the Queensferry Crossing drivers are still being directed to the old Forth Road Bridge, where they risk being fined for going over it.
“This is yet another in a catalogue of issues that have still to be resolved before the Queensferry Crossing can really be considered fully open.
“And it is further evidence that despite their willingness to dine out on their infrastructure credentials with the crossing the SNP are still to be found wanting over final delivery of the project.”
He said he was surprised at the idea the old bridge was classed as a tourist attraction but the new crossing was not.
“They were telling us people were coming from all over the world to visit the Queensferry Crossing but now they are saying it doesn’t merit being called a destination.”
Visit Scotland said in 2017 it believed the new crossing, together with the Forth Bridge and the Forth Road Bridge offered “a golden opportunity for tourism and the chance for Scotland to become a global destination for bridge tourism”.