Forth bridge shut over steel work faults

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The steel work on the Forth Bridge has been found to have serious structural faults and has led to a full closure of the bridge until after Christmas.

The bridge has been closed to traffic from midnight 04/12/15 resulting in traffic chaos around Edinburgh and Fife with the bridge due to be shut for at least 24 hours.

Transport Scotland said: “The southbound carriageway has been closed and a contraflow has been in place since defects were discovered in steelworks on Tuesday.

“Since then inspections have identified eight other parts of the bridge where similar problems could be encountered.

“The closure decision was taken late on Thursday after the latest reports indicated the faults were more serious than had earlier been thought.”

“No timescale has been given for when the crossing will reopen but an update will be given on Friday.”

Initially Amey engineers found a single vertical structural section in the Forth Road Bridge’s main steel southbound deck truss had failed but further checking has now uncovered several more problem areas.

Previously there have been concerns about the long-term load-bearing capacity of deck trusses and 10 years ago strengthening plates were fixed to highly-stressed sections.

Scotland’s Transport Minister Derek Mackay said: “In light of the latest information and expert advice we’ve been recommended to close the Forth Road Bridge.

“The reason for that is that further traffic could cause further damage, having identified a fault. Therefore the bridge has to be closed.

“I know that causes significant disruption and I thank travellers and drivers for their patience but we have to close the bridge for reasons of safety, to undertake investigation and repairs.”

Amey is the maintenance contractor on the  bridge where it runs a £60m deal to oversee upkeep of the Forth crossings.