New Queensferry Crossing finally connected to Fife
The new Forth crossing has touched down in Fife in what has been hailed as an 'historic and symbolic moment' for the Â£1.3 billion project.
Engineers working on the Queensferry Crossing closed a 70cm gap between the north deck and the north approach viaduct - meaning the new bridge is now connected to land in Fife.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown was one of the first people to walk from the land on to the bridge.
He said afterwards: “This is a historic and symbolic moment in the building of the Queensferry Crossing.
“We’re all witnessing engineering on a truly epic scale on this project, with over 30,000 tonnes of concrete and steel used just to build this part of the bridge.
“Despite the massive size and weight of the bridge, completing the closure between the viaduct and bridge deck is a delicate operation involving extremely precise tolerances for fit up.”
The part of the bridge that connects the viaduct with the north deck tower is made up of more than 10,000 tonnes of steel and 20,000 tonnes of concrete, with 46 cables being used to hold it in place.
Forth Crossing Bridge Contractors (FCBC) have installed 22 deck sections on the north tower, with each weighing an average of 750 tonnes.
Mr Brown said: “The progress being made on the Queensferry Crossing and its approach roads continues to demand skill and dedication from everyone involved.”
The new crossing had originally been due to open by the end of 2016 but that was pushed back to May 2017 after adverse weather hampered the project.
“The Firth of Forth presents challenging weather conditions right throughout the year and I’m sure I speak for us all when I sincerely thank all of those hard-working people for getting us to this point,” Mr Brown said.
“I am pleased to update that, subject to weather conditions, the project remains significantly under budget and on track to open in May 2017 in line with the revised programme and the contractual completion date.
“Overall, nearly 79 per cent of the total bridge deck is now in place, the final section of deck is having its concrete deck cast in Rosyth today, meaning all the deck is ready to be lifted into place on the bridge.
“On the roads, two lanes of traffic are being maintained on the A90 despite the significant roadworks under way at Ferrytoll junction.
“On the south side the finishing touches are being applied to the road connection with surfacing and overhead gantries being installed.”
FCBC project director Michael Martin said: “The first closure on any bridge project is always a significant milestone. On this fantastic project, this closure represents leading-edge civil engineering.
“After installing the last road deck section and connecting it to the expanding North Tower road deck, we then had to close the remaining gap on the north - or landward - side. This was done by pulling the northern approach viaduct 700 millimetres southwards.
“This was a massive and, at the same time, very delicate operation.
“Massive because the viaduct is 222 metres long, weighs approximately 6,000 tonnes and had to be pulled up a gradient of about 3 per cent.
“Delicate because the tolerances the team were working to were tiny - just a few millimetres either way. Happily, it all went very well. We now look forward to the remaining closures in the months ahead.”