Engineers repairing the Forth Road Bridge have revealed they are aiming to reopen the bridge on 4 January, provided their work is not disrupted by bad weather.
The bridge was closed in early December after the discovery of faults on steel components. Road traffic is forced to make long diversions and ScotRail is providing a 64% increase in weekday train seats across the Forth Rail Bridge.
Contractor Amey has begun welding work to repair the bridge and hopes to reopen the structure to traffic on the first Monday in January, when commuters will return after the New Year break.
Forth Road Bridge repairs, picture from Amey
Chartered Engineer Mark Arndt, Amey's account director responsible for the bridge, told Transport Network: ‘While the ongoing repair work remains weather dependent, our engineers continue to work around the clock and are currently on schedule to reopen the bridge in January as planned.’
The work is expected to cost about £2m and will include preventative maintenance at seven similar locations elsewhere on the structure. Engineers will also install structural monitoring systems at all of the relevant locations.
At the main north-eastern tower, a plate welded repair is being made to the truss end link where a 20mm crack was discovered. The link will be jacked back to its correct position. An access platform has been installed to enable the work to be undertaken day and night, weather permitting.
Amey intends to reopen both carriageways at the same time, without any speed or weight restrictions which were not in place before the closure.