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7 December 2015, 09:17
A website has been launched to help commuters plan journeys around the closure of the Forth Road Bridge as the Transport Minister warned there is "no doubt'' people will experience disruption.
It was announced on Saturday that train capacity is to be increased by 6,500 seats on routes between Fife and Edinburgh, while 11,000 spaces will be available on park and ride buses, which will be able to use a dedicated "corridor'' on the A985 along with HGVs.
It emerged on Friday that the bridge will be closed until the new year while repair work is carried out on a structural fault.
It is estimated that around 70,000 vehicles use the bridge each day and 11-mile rush hour tailbacks were caused on Friday, the first full day of its closure.
Ministers say diversion routes will be slow and public transport very busy during the Monday rush hour and a website has been set up - trafficscotland.org/news/story.aspx?id=13232 - in an attempt to make information accessible to commuters and businesses.
Transport bosses are to meet with local businesses on Tuesday to discuss how the impact of the crossing closure can be eased.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: "Since we took the necessary decision to close the Forth Road Bridge on safety grounds, the patience and co-operation displayed by the travelling public and affected businesses is appreciated, but there is no doubt people will continue to experience disruption over this period.
"A significant amount of work has been put in to deliver additional resources for commuters and businesses that need to travel and we have been able to add additional resources for public transport routes between Fife and Edinburgh.
"This includes 6,500 more seats a day on ScotRail trains and an additional 33 buses supplied through Stagecoach and bringing 11,000 more seats on key services.
2Full details of the additional services are on the website which offers detailed information on the available travel options, including new timetables for the enhanced rail services.
"We are putting in place as many measures as possible to help this situation but these will only be effective if we have the support of the public. Through carefully planning journeys, considering travelling at different times or considering other options such as car sharing and working from home, even though there will still be delays, we can all work together to come through this challenging situation.''
Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said on Sunday: "With new diversions coming into force tomorrow morning, there will be Road Policing officers working with Amey traffic management colleagues all along these routes and in the Traffic Scotland control centre, plus we will be deploying further Road Policing officers to patrol the diversionary routes and affected parts of the road network to assist in keeping the traffic flowing.
"Together we will monitor how the plans are working and will respond to any incidents which do occur. We do expect a certain amount of delays, but will continue to assess and adapt accordingly to help traffic keep moving.
"I would urge anyone who needs to travel tomorrow morning to plan ahead - consider public transport, check the weather conditions and leave plenty of time for your journey. Many people will be driving on unfamiliar, busy roads and so please take extra care.''