Long Delays For Queensferry Crossing

30 August 2017, 10:14 | Updated: 30 August 2017, 10:15

Queensferry Crossing

Motorists using the Queensferry Crossing have been hit by long delays in both directions on its first day in operation.

The first cars drove over the new £1.35 billion bridge shortly before 2am on Wednesday after traffic was diverted from the Forth Road Bridge.

A long procession followed police vehicles, with many honking their horns and blowing whistles as they travelled over the bridge.

However, by rush hour drivers were facing long delays in both directions.

It is thought people simply wanting to experience the crossing for the first time were exacerbating the problem, with Traffic Scotland tweeting: "This is not just commuters heading for work" and "LOTS of you eager to cross & 40mph speed limit in place."

Earlier the bridge was hit by its first breakdown when a lorry stopped at around 7am.

Traffic Scotland tweeted: "First breakdown on the @FRC_Queensferry. Mostly on hard shoulder but bum sticking out...slightly!"

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy Keith Brown was among the first to cross the bridge in the early hours of Wednesday.

He said: "It's fantastic. You immediately notice coming over the new bridge - as traffic is now doing - the absence of the slap, slap, slap that you get on the existing bridge.

"It's a very smooth passage right across the Queensferry Crossing. Also, just the excitement of looking at this fantastic new structure from a new angle.

"I think it will be extremely well-received by the people in Scotland who are going to use this bridge."

The 1.7-mile crossing has a projected life of 120 years but could last longer as it has been ''designed for maintenance'' to ensure it runs smoothly for decades.

Linking the Lothians and Fife, the new crossing is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.

On Monday night a collection of vintage, modern and electric vehicles drove on the structure in a procession to mark the symbolic handover from contractors to the Scottish Government.

It was followed by a light show across the crossing to celebrate the completion of the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland in a generation.

In the early hours of Friday, the new bridge will be closed again to prepare for a public walk on the crossing and a royal visit from the Queen on Monday.

A total of 50,000 invited members of the public will have the chance to walk across it on Saturday and Sunday.

Motorists will be able to drive across it after it reopens on Thursday September 7.

The crossing is essentially an extension of the M90 motorway across the Forth with a 70mph speed limit, although operators said an initial 40mph limit will be in place to take account of "driver distraction".