Calls to reopen Forth Road Bridge

© Supplied
There have been delays on the new crossing

An MSP has called for the Forth Road Bridge to be reopened to curb congestion around the Queensferry Crossing.

Edinburgh West MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton has urged transport bosses to temporarily allow traffic to use the old road bridge until the “tourist boom” boosted by sightseers wanting to visit the newly opened £1.35 billion cable stayed bridge abates.

When it first opened on August 30 drivers experienced long delays.

This was put down not only to commuter traffic but to those who wanted to see the new bridge up close.

It closed to traffic for six days to allow celebrations – including its official opening by the Queen – to go ahead.

When it reopened on September 7, the southbound morning rush hour passed quietly, but there were four mile tailbacks northbound during the evening peak.

The Lib Dem MSP said it was inevitable that there would be a rise in traffic numbers as tourists visited.

But he claimed some commuters from Fife were missing half a day of work due to the excessive build up of traffic.

“To help those who depend on free flowing traffic to on from Fife, Transport Scotland should consider delaying the work to the Forth Road Bridge and keep it open until the ‘tourist boom’ of the new bridges passes,” he added.

A temporary 40mph speed limit is in place on the approach roads and over the new crossing while the Forth Road Bridge is open to cyclists and pedestrians only.

Later in the year the Queensferry Crossing will become a motorway and the Forth Road Bridge will be a public transport corridor.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the huge level of interest was anticipated, adding the capacity was the same as before.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, he said: “I know it can be extremely frustrating but we have to get to the stage of being able to open both bridges and thereby alleviate the some of the pressure that is currently being felt.”

With officers monitoring the situation, Transport Scotland spokesman said its main advantage would be its resilience and journey time reliability.

“It is a replacement for the Forth Road Bridge and as such does not increase capacity.

“The Forth Road Bridge will become a public transport corridor in the autumn, until then we are not going to get a true picture of operational performance.”