Why the Queensferry Crossing has been shut, route diversions and when it will open again
Motorists have been warned to brace for major disruption as the Queensferry Crossing remains closed.
Traffic Scotland confirmed around 6am on Tuesday morning that the vital commuter crossing was closed.
A spokesperson said: "The Deputy First Minister and Transport Secretary were briefed on the closure of the Queensferry Crossing.
"They have been brought up to date on the efforts of the operating company who are constantly monitoring the structure.”
Why is the Crossing closed?
The £1.35 billion bridge was initially scheduled to shut so manual inspections could be carried out around 8:30pm on Monday 10 February, but shut early in both directions during peak hours.
It was closed due to the danger of falling ice and snow from bridge cables in the wake of Storm Ciara.
At least eight drivers suffered damage to their vehicles from falling ice before the bridge’s southbound lanes were closed to all traffic at 5:35pm on Monday.
Martin Aitchison said he got a "fright" when the ice "banged" down on to his Vauxhall work van, damaging the corner of the windscreen.
Speaking to the Evening News on Monday night, Mr Aitchison said: "I was going southbound when there was a huge bang and the windscreen has blown. I drove on another 200-300 yards and stopped just behind an Amey truck. The guy who was there started pointing up at the bridge."
When will the Crossing re-open?
"Our immediate priority is the safety of bridge users,” said the Traffic Scotland spokesperson, “and we remain focused on that while we assess the situation to enable the bridge to re-open as soon as possible. Any wider investigations can take place once the bridge is re-opened.”
"Due to a unique set of weather circumstances the bridge will remain closed and a further update will be provided during the course of Tuesday [February 11[. We are working with public transport partners to strengthen their services, where feasible."
Transport Secretary Michael Matheson defended the lack of action to stop ice falling from the Queensferry Crossing after the bridge was closed.
Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland, Matheson said the bridge's designers were planning on installing ice sensors on to the structure "in the coming months" but no contract had yet been awarded for the work to be done.
Previously, the Evening News and Scotsman reported that the Scottish Government pledged to to fit ice sensors to the bridge to alert engineers to the hazard of ice build up on the cables.
Warning of ongoing problems for motorists, Matheson said: "Given the weather forecast from the Met Office, they expect there to continue to be problems with the snow building up on the cables and - as a result of the safety risk that presents - the bridge won't open if that continues to be the case during the course of the day.
"However, should the situation change and they believe it is safe for the bridge to open again, they will do so as quickly as possible."
What alternative route can I take?
Motorists have been warned to brace for major disruption, with a lengthy diversion required for those travelling by car between Fife and Edinburgh as the Crossing remains closed.
Drivers travelling southbound have been advised to divert via the A985 to the Kincardine Bridge and the M9, and the reverse for northbound traffic.
This article first appeared on The Scotsman