11 February 2020 10:30
Queensferry Crossing is still shut this morning(Tuesday) after ice and snow fell from the bridge's cables onto vehicles below. ScotRail and Stagecoach are putting on extra trains and buses and it is advised that commuters use public transport this morning. Journey times via the Kincardine bridge are over an hour. Traffic Scotland say the situation continues to be monitored. Southbound has been shut since rush hour last night but now both sides of the bridge have been closed.
There is no diversion over the Forth Road Bridge but it will be open to public transport. The Queensferry Crossing is closed as a safety precaution due to a risk of ice and snow falling from the cables. Motorists travelling southbound are advised to divert via the A985 to the Kincardine Bridge and the M9, and the reverse for northbound traffic. With severe weather forecast overnight, the bridge is expected to remain closed throughout Tuesday morning peak, until manual inspections confirm that it is safe to reopen. Mark Arndt, Account Director for operating company Amey, said: "The decision was taken to close the Queensferry Crossing due to the severe weather conditions and risk of falling ice and snow.
The main artery from Fife across the Forth shut both north and south this evening because of adverse weather conditions as Scotland battles the impact of Storm Ciara. There were reports of snow and sleet falling from the towers, causing a danger to passing cars. The Forth Bridges – the official account for the crossing and the Forth Road Bridge – tweeted: "We've now observed falls of snow and ice onto the northbound carriageway, so the bridge will remain closed in both directions until visual inspections can be carried out tomorrow to confirm it is safe to reopen." Drivers heading south already face a long detour via the Kincardine Bridge and on to the M9 in order to reach Edinburgh and beyond. And if the northbound lanes remain closed, it will impact on many people who wpork in the Kingdom. Traffic Scotland will check conditions overnight before making a final decision. "However it is currently highly likely to remain closed through morning peak." The Forth Road Bridge is also NOT an option. The bridge – which is a public transport corridor for buses and taxis – remains open, but cannot take additional traffic due to major maintenance works currently underway. It is also not possible to open up the emergency access from the M90 to the Forth Road Bridge at very short notice. Train services from all key Fife stations are expected to be busy tomorrow. Motorists in Fife are braced for disruption after police were forced to close the Queensferry Crossing to all southbound traffic. Officers confirmed the busy route was closed to vehicles travelling towards Edinburgh "until further notice" shortly after 5.35pm on Monday. Motorists are also currently unable to use the Forth Road Bridge and have been told to to find alternative routes if they need to travel. Some car owners reported ice falling from cables on the Crossing. ROAD CLOSURE – #QueensferryCrossing is currently closed southbound until further notice. There is no diversion over the Forth Road Bridge. Thank you in advance, for your patience. A Police Scotland spokesman said: "There is no diversion over the Forth Road Bridge. The Forth Bridges official Twitter account confirmed the closure is a "precautionary measure due to risk of falling ice and snow from the cables". Traffic Scotland advised diverted motorists should take the A985 onto the Kincardine Bridge, before heading southbound onto the M9. The Queensferry Crossing may remain shut until Wednesday due to severe weather, with eight cars damaged in the "unique conditions". Operator Amey said the key route would be closed until further notice as a safety precaution due to ice falling from the cables. The bridge, which links Fife with Edinburgh, was closed fully on Monday at 8.30am after eight vehicles were damaged by falling blocks of ice and snow. The southbound carriageway was shut three hours earlier. Traffic Scotland has confirmed this morning that the £1.35 billion bridge will remain closed this morning. ⚠️QUEENSFERRY CROSSING⌚️07:50 Remains CLOSED⛔️ both ways for safety precautions Please consider alternative travel and leave extra time for your [email protected] @FifeCouncil #edintravel pic.twitter.com/02FkM8X8HS — Traffic Scotland (@trafficscotland) February 11, 2020 Ongoing works on the Forth Road Bridge mean drivers will be forced to endure a 30-mile diversion via the A985 onto the Kincardine Bridge and then southbound onto the M9, and the reverse for northbound traffic. Amey, which operates the Forth Bridges on behalf of Transport Scotland, confirmed eight vehicles suffered damage as a result of falling debris but said no injuries had been reported. Mark Arndt, of Forth Bridges Unit with Amey, told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland that the closure was caused by a "unique set of weather conditions". He said: "We had a combination of strong westerly winds … a mixture of snow and sleet that resulted in snow accumulations on the main cables of the Queensferry Crossing. And it was on the grounds of safety that we took the decision to close the bridge." He added that conditions will be monitored throughout the day and the crossing will be reopened as soon as possible. Ice falls Up to eight vehicles were damaged as a result of the ice falls, but there were not thought to have been any major injuries. A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: "The Deputy First Minister and Transport Secretary were briefed on the closure of the Queensferry Crossing. "Our immediate priority is the safety of bridge users and we remain focused on that while we assess the situation to enable the bridge to reopen as soon as possible. "Any wider investigations can take place once the bridge is reopened." Prior to the opening of the bridge in 2017, Transport Scotland officials said they were "optimistic" wind-shielding fitted to the structure meant it would never need to close. But the Scottish Government said last year it would fit ice sensors to the bridge after three car windscreens were smashed by falling ice and snow. He said: "The build up of ice and the risk to motorists using the bridge is a hazard that should have been considered before the bridge was opened to traffic. "Solid blocks of ice falling on motorists' cars is hugely dangerous and all necessary steps must be taken to ensure the safety of motorists using the Queensferry Crossing." Amey confirmed it had observers in place prior to the closure as a result of new operating procedures introduced after the incidents last year. A spokesman said the route will reopen "as soon as we are confident it is safe to do so". Scotrail has put extra services in place to assist with problems caused by the road bridge's closure. Met Office yellow warnings for snow and ice remain in place through to Wednesday. The M74 was closed southbound on Tuesday morning due to an overturned vehicle. Cross-border rail services were hit by a landslip between Kilmarnock and Dumfries, forcing the closure of the Glasgow Central to Carlisle line via Dumfries. The conditions also affected the West Highland Line and Airdrie to Balloch service, while buses replaced trains between Dumfries and Carlisle. On Tuesday morning, nine out of 28 services were cancelled amid poor weather, with the remainder delayed or rescheduled.