THE Forth Road Bridge will be relaunched as a ‘public transport corridor’ tomorrow as the neighbouring Queensferry Crossing begins life as a motorway.
Buses and taxis are now able to enjoy dedicated lanes between the M9 near Newbridge and Halbeath in Fife.
Routes for walking and cycling across the bridge will also be opened, allowing for active travel participants to enjoy a cleaner, quieter crossing, without the regular vehicle traffic experienced previously.
Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “It is tremendously satisfying to see our vision for a managed, dual-bridge strategy come to pass just over nine years after it was first announced.
“The original decision allowed us to substantially reduce the cost of the overall project by retaining the FRB, therefore reducing the size and cost of the new bridge. Our commitment to encouraging the use of sustainable transport remains resolute and today’s news means that additional demand for cross-Forth travel has the very attractive option of enhanced park and ride facilities at Ferrytoll and Halbeath as well as dedicated priority across the Firth of Forth and beyond.
“As the Forth Replacement Crossing project winds down – with this news and motorway status on the new M90 across the stunning Queensferry Crossing bridge – we can start to see the full benefits of this once in a lifetime infrastructure project and the true value of such a significant piece of investment in the national infrastructure.”
Delighted the Forth Rd Bridge will be a fully operational public transport corridor from tomorrow. Dedicated to buses, taxis, cyclists, walkers and motorcycles/mopeds 125cc & under. Great for commuters and faster journeys for those who use public transport and active travel https://t.co/0r8q43jo5v
— Humza Yousaf (@HumzaYousaf) January 31, 2018
Scotland’s alliance for sustainable transport, Transform Scotland, however, has raised concerns over a lack of action on public transport improvements surrounding the Queensferry Crossing development.
They say that a failure to deliver on commitments seriously threatens the project and the public transport offering in the area.
Director Colin Howden said: “It’s obviously welcome that the Forth Road Bridge is being prioritised for walkers, cyclists and bus users.
“However, the bridge on its own doesn’t deliver a ‘public transport corridor’, as the Scottish Ministers claim. Bus journey times into Edinburgh won’t improve significantly until public transport priority is put in place at either end of the bridge and not just on the bridge itself.
“Unfortunately, most of the major commitments made by Transport Scotland towards public transport investment have not materialised, notably A8 corridor bus priority measures, improvements in bus priorities between Barnton and Edinburgh, or a new bus park & ride site at Livingston.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We intend to publish an update to the strategy during 2018 to reflect the current status of each [project].
“This update is likely to indicate which have been delivered, which are to be considered further and those that are no longer to be taken forward.
For more information on the changes to the bridges, visit https://www.theforthbridges.org/plan-your-journey/road-user-guide/