The Scottish Government has come under pressure from MSPs to extend the number of days the Queensferry Crossing will be open to the public.
The £1.35 billion bridge will open to traffic at the end of August and members of the public will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk across it on September 2 and 3.
Nearly a quarter of a million people entered a ballot to win one of 50,000 places.
Now MSP Murdo Fraser is calling for the Scottish Government to open the bridge to walkers for another day or two.
“There is huge appetite from the public to take the historic first steps across the new bridge,” he said.
“Unlike the Forth Road Bridge, there will be no pedestrian access to the bridge so this will be the only opportunity for many to walk across it.
“The bridge is already months behind schedule and I fail to see the harm in closing it for an additional two days to accommodate those whose names were not pulled from the ballot.
“The opening of the Queensferry Crossing is a historic moment for Scotland I would hope that the Scottish Government will allow as many people as possible to play a role in this and especially those with a local connection in Fife.”
Fellow MSP Liz Smith added: “The communities bordering the bridge have had to cope with roadworks and delays throughout the build and at the very least should be rewarded with an opportunity to traverse the bridge.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “Around 45,000 individuals have already confirmed their acceptance of the invitation to participate in the Queensferry Crossing Experience and we are on track to conclude the process this week, as planned.
“Around half of the entrants to the ballot are from post code areas local to the Queensferry Crossing and we expect that to be reflected in terms of the final selection of successful participants.”
He added the team had worked closely with the community councils of North Queensferry, Inverkeithing, Rosyth and Queensferry and District, Newton and Kirkliston and will continue that dialogue to ensure that in addition to having an opportunity to enter the ballot, many local pupils, community groups and members of local communities have the opportunity to take part in the opening celebrations.
“In addition, there will be further opportunities for local participation in the official opening events, separate from the Queensferry Crossing Experience,” the spokesman added.
Call for annual festival
Backing Mr Fraser, Mid Scotland and Fife Conservative MSP Alexander Stewart said the bridge could go one further – and have a public festival every year.
“Banning traffic from all or part of bridges for annual walks is already popular in the United States and indeed, this already happens for events such as the annual Mackinac Bridge Walk in Michigan, which has been held for nearly 60 years and attracts around 65,000 people.
“So it is clear that a similar event could prove immensely popular here as well”
He added that in one of the biggest events of its kind San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge was closed to vehicles for a day in 1987 to celebrate its 50th anniversary, attracting around 250,000 people from original estimates of just 50,000.