Details of the Queensferry Crossing’s extra community day have been revealed.
And the September 5 event will mean every child studying in the shadow of the bridge will have the chance to be involved.
The 1.7 mile long bridge opens to traffic on August 30, but then closes on September 2 and 3 for a public festival.
There was phenomenal demand for 50,000 places up for grabs in a ballot to walk the newest Forth bridge, leading to calls for an additional chance to get up close and personal.
In response to local feedback, an additional 10,000 people from local schools and community groups on both sides of the Forth will have the chance to walk on to the bridge on September 5, the day after its official opening by the Queen.
It is expected to involve 13 schools from within the six community council areas immediately adjacent to the project – around 6,000 pupils and staff have been invited.
This is expected to create an opportunity for each child in the area to become a part of Scotland’s history, offering a real legacy for the next generation.
It also builds on a key aspect of the project which has seen 23,000 pupils participate in the schools programme.
Transport Scotland and VisitScotland have also revealed details of additional support for local communities to make the most out of the weekend of celebrations, including funding for South Queensferry and North Queensferry to host events, entertainment, screenings of the celebrations, and a flotilla on the Forth, in the run up to and during the official opening.
Economy Secretary Keith Brown said the celebrations marked the end of a “hugely impressive construction project” but also set the scene for a new chapter as the public will soon start to see the immediate benefits of the bridge being open to traffic.
“We can be sure of a global audience and have already received interest from around the world in this spectacular project.
“VisitScotland and Transport Scotland are already working with other agencies to ensure the location is marketed as a unique destination and a Forth Bridges strategy is being developed to build on the momentum associated with a grand opening of this scale.”
He said the extra public event was in response to demand and feedback as close as possible to the official opening.
“This has been done to minimise disruption but ensure the feel good factor isn’t lost.
“There are a host of opportunities in the pipeline as we create a lasting legacy for this magnificent project and it’s only right that local communities who have been affected stand to benefit.”
Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney said as the Minister who steered the enabling legislation through Parliament it was a proud moment to see the Queensferry Crossing nearing completion.
“I’ve always been struck by the public’s enthusiasm for the project, not least within our classrooms across the country.
“That’s why this third event, dedicated to local schools and communities, is such a fantastic idea,” he said.
“By inspiring future generations of engineers and enthusiasts we can continue to build a better Scotland and enhance our reputation across the world.”
Project Director David Climie has been involved in opening ceremonies for bridges around the world, but has been staggered by the public response to the Queensferry Crossing Experience.
“This demand is something else,” he said.
“I’m therefore delighted that we’ve been able to organise a third event devoted to local schools and communities, which will hopefully inspire a whole new generation of engineers in Scotland.
“The fact that so many schools, young people and groups from across Scotland have visited the bridge and education centre throughout its construction has been a real success story and should give the industry confidence about where the next breed of talented and skillful engineers is coming from.”