Journey times during closures of the Queensferry Crossing have been slashed after new barriers were installed.
Thanks to state-of-the-art technology, traffic can now be diverted onto the Forth Road Bridge within minutes.
Previously, it took about six hours to manually redirect traffic from the M90 onto the Forth Road Bridge, with drivers forced to use the Kincardine Bridge while the diversion was put in place.
Now, it can be done in less than an hour as the barriers can redirect traffic from the new bridge to the old one at the touch of a button.
Traffic diverted from Queensferry Crossing in 38 minutes thanks to barriers
The barriers – the first of their kind in the UK – were trialled on Sunday night and traffic was diverted within 38 minutes of the Queensferry Crossing being blocked.
And there are plans to reduce these times even further in 2024 using more technology.
The Queensferry Crossing has been forced to close several times in recent years due to ice falling from cables.
Chris Tracey, Bear Scotland’s south-east unit bridges manager, said: “From a technical perspective the trial of the new barrier system was a success.
Faster to divert traffic onto Forth Road Bridge than via Kincardine Bridge
“This is new technology for the UK and it is being deployed on a larger and more complex scale than in other locations where it has been used before.
“The machinery worked as designed and dramatically reduced the time it takes to open the diversion route over the Forth Road Bridge.
“Crucially, it is now faster to redirect M90 traffic onto the Forth Road Bridge than it is to divert via the Kincardine Bridge, so this will be the default process from now on if the Queensferry Crossing has to close for any reason.
“There are limits to how quickly the diversion can be opened, as traffic management must still be put in place to close slip roads at Queensferry and Ferrytoll and traffic already on the Queensferry Crossing must be given time to clear the bridge, however, our aim is to speed up the overall process as much as possible and we learned a lot from this trial that will help us to do this.”