The traffic restrictions that caused major delays around the Forth Bridge this morning will continue until at least the middle of Thursday.
That means this evening’s rush hour and Thursday’s morning’s commuters will be hit again inevitably leading to more of the huge delays experienced on Wednesday morning.
Traffic has been restricted to a single lane in each direction since Tuesday evening following the discovery of a defect to a steel component beneath the southbound carriageway during a routine inspection.
Following delayed inspections today, bridge chiefs have confirmed there is no prospect of normal service being resumed before Thursday afternoon.
Engineers and specialists carried out a more detailed inspection this morning and hope to implement a temporary solution in the near future, with a permanent repair at a future date.
It is hoped that traffic restrictions can be at least partially lifted at some point on Thursday.
Abnormal loads are not permitted to cross while the contraflow is in place but the east footpath has reopened to cyclists and pedestrians.
Mark Arndt, from bridge operator Amey, said: “A key structural component beneath the southbound carriageway has failed so it is important that we carry out all the necessary calculations before relaxing safety restrictions.
“Following the detailed inspection carried out this morning we now have the information required to develop both short and long term solutions.
“Our team will be working through the night to design and check our plans and we aim to have these confirmed during the day tomorrow.
“We apologise for the disruption that these safety restrictions are causing.
“Our advice remains to avoid Forth Road Bridge for the time being and divert via Kincardine or the A9 and M9, use public transport or travel outwith peak times.
Here's a photo of Amey's engineers inspecting the defect on Forth Road Bridge earlier today: pic.twitter.com/bOIZ9lbalC
— Forth Road Bridge (@forthroadbridge) December 2, 2015
“Drivers did take heed of the warnings today and we would ask them to keep checking the latest information from Traffic Scotland before they set off on their journeys.”
The restrictions led to long delays for motorists on Wednesday morning, with traffic queued back as far as Dunfermline.
With the problems set to continue for at least another day, transport chiefs are repeating their plea for drivers to use public transport or alternative routes where possible.
For more on this story, see Thursday’s Courier or try our digital edition.