The Queen opens new Queensferry Crossing

Posted on 16 Sep 2017 and read 778 times
The Queen opens new Queensferry CrossingThe Queen last week officially opened the new £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing — 53 years to the day after she opened the Forth Road Bridge.

After cutting the ribbon to cheers from a watching crowd, she travelled by car across the bridge and made a speech before unveiling a plaque to declare the crossing formally open.

She said the structure — which sits beside the Forth Road Bridge and Forth Rail Bridge and is both the UK’s tallest bridge and the world’s longest three-tower cable-stayed bridge — was a “breathtaking sight” and added: “The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries, are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them.”

The need for a new bridge emerged 13 years ago when inspections of the Forth Road Bridge’s main cables revealed a loss of strength.

The new crossing is essentially an extension of the M90 motorway across the Forth with a 70mph speed limit, but operators said an initial 40mph limit would be in place to take account of “driver distraction”.

Equipped with the latest weather, safety and traffic sensors, the new bridge includes specially designed screens installed along its entire length to reduce the wind pressure on vehicles.

Mike Glover, the bridge’s chief engineer (and former technical director of the HS1 rail link), said the screens mean that the chances of the bridge being closed by high winds are very remote.

“If you can get to the bridge, you will cross it.”

The new crossing is a ‘state of the art’ design with just two joints — one at each end — and an entirely smooth surface (the old bridge has 100 joints, which increases the road noise for motorists).

The new bridge will take most of the traffic that currently uses the Forth Road Bridge; the latter will remain open for cyclists, pedestrians and buses.

Construction of the Queensferry Crossing began in 2011, and more than 10,000 people have worked on the site at some point, clocking up over 13 million hours of work.

About 24 million vehicles are expected to use the crossing each year, and it has a projected life of at least 120 years.

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