The Forth Road Bridge is to reopen from tomorrow (Wednesday), two weeks ahead of the initial schedule, however large lorries are still banned.
Operating company Amey has confirmed that temporary repairs had been completed, winning praise from transport minister, Derek Mackay, for their round the clock work.
The bridge will open at 06:00 to all traffic except Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), and has been closed since from 4 December after a crack was discovered in a truss under the carriageway.
The Forth Bridges back in business
Work was carried out as planned to repair the cracked truss through the installation of a steel splint. Permanent repairs should take a further six weeks, meaning HGVs will continue to be banned from using the bridge until mid-February, Amey said, as this could place strain on the truss end links.
Transport minister, Derek Mackay, said: ‘We will now work with hauliers to discuss what operational support will be available to them during the period when they cannot access the bridge.
‘In addition to the interim repair on the cracked member, splints are being installed on the other seven members as a precaution. Of these, work is already complete at four and the remaining three will be completed, subject to weather, by the end of December. There is no reason for the bridge to remain closed while this work is completed.'
He added that the other seven members have also been inspected and load tested and no issues have been discovered.
‘Since closure of the bridge was put in place it has also undergone a thorough health check. A painstaking inspection has been carried out involving over 65 rope access inspectors and drone footage to identify any other defects. The inspection is 90% complete and no material defects have been identified. It will be concluded by early January and there is no reason to keep the bridge closed while this is completed,' he said.
Since completion of the interim repair, testing has been carried out through strain gauges. These devices have been installed for the first time on the bridge and provide live and accurate data on strains, stresses and rotations within this area of the bridge, Amey said.