The Queensferry Crossing – formerly known as the Forth Replacement Crossing – is a major infrastructure project currently taking place in Scotland.
The scheme has been designed to replace the current Forth Road Bridge as the main crossing point for cross-Forth traffic and is currently running as scheduled.
The Queensferry Crossing spans the Firth of Forth, connecting Edinburgh at South Queensferry to Fife at North Queensferry. The bridge has provided a major improvement to the Scottish transport network since it was opened in 1964 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Unfortunately, despite significant investment and maintenance over its lifetime, the bridge was showing signs of deterioration and was deemed no longer suitable in the long-term as the main crossing over the Firth of Forth. Although the repair of cables of the Queensferry Crossing was a possibility, the timeframe of the project would have caused too much disruption and was deemed inappropriate.
With the decision made to construct a replacement crossing, research got underway in 2006, with five potential crossing corridors identified and appraised for their suitability. The Scottish Government then determined that a cable-stayed bridge to the west of the existing Forth Road Bridge would be the best solution and the project was able to gain momentum.
The project initially ran under the name of the Forth Replacement Road Crossing, however in June 2013 the name of the bridge was officially changed to the Queensferry Crossing. The new name was given as part of a ‘Name the Bridge’ contest initiated by Transport Scotland after being whittled down from 7,600 submitted names.
Members of the public were invited to cast their votes against a shortlist of five potential names including Caledonia Bridge, Firth of Forth Crossing, Saltire Crossing, St Margaret’s Crossing and the chosen name, Queensferry Crossing. The new name was confirmed by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond after receiving more than 35,000 votes – over a third of the entire votes.
The name Queensferry Crossing is shared by the communities on either bank of the Forth Estuary – North Queensferry and South Queensferry. The bridge is named after Queen (Saint) Margaret who established a ferry to carry pilgrims travelling to St Andrews and Dunfermline.
Commenting about the bridge, The First Minister, Alex Salmond, said:
“The Queensferry Crossing is the country’s biggest and most significant transport infrastructure project for decades and I was delighted that the naming process enabled so many thousands of people to get involved and rightly feel a sense of ownership for a bridge that will serve Scotland and its economy for many years to come.
“It was Queen Margaret in the 11th Century who introduced a ferry to carry pilgrims across the Forth, giving the communities on either side of the Firth their name. The public’s choice of Queensferry Crossing reflects the area’s rich history and the continuing link between the two communities on the estuary’s north and south banks.”
“This part of Scotland is already an internationally-renowned location with two bridges representing the cutting edge of engineering in the 19th and 20th centuries respectively.
“The Queensferry Crossing is a bridge to the future. When complete in 2016, it will take its place alongside the other iconic bridges over the Forth estuary, while safeguarding and improving a vital connection in the country’s transport network and playing a key role in Scotland’s economic success.”
In September 2013, the overall cost of the Queensferry Crossing was lowered by £145 million, taking the new budget to £1.4bn-£1.45bn, from £1.45bn-£1.6bn. Commenting on the new budget, John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, said:
“Over the last few years we have taken a deliberately Scottish approach to investing in infrastructure. We are supporting an investment led recovery in distinct contrast to the austerity of the UK government.
“Our approach has benefitted the Scottish economy. 90% of supply orders and nearly 60% of sub contracts have been awarded to 365 Scottish firms and currently around 874 people are currently employed on site.”
The new cable-stayed bridge will be 2.7km long and will have three slender single column towers, including approach viaducts. The road carried by the bridge will be designated as a motorway, with two lanes of traffic in each direction and hard shoulders to ensure that breakdowns, incidents and any maintenance works do not cause the severe congestion which is currently experienced on the Forth Road Bridge.
The hard shoulders also provide the flexibility to carry buses unable to travel on the Forth Road Bridge during periods of high wind. Windshielding on the new bridge will provide a more reliable corridor, particularly for lorries and other HGV’s.
The crossing aims to replace but not increase the amount of traffic using the infrastructure and under the scheme will see lanes created for general traffic. The speed limit on the new road will be 70mph, with an advisory speed of 50mph. Motorcycles with an engine capacity less than 50cc will not be permitted on the Queensferry Crossing.
The replacement bridge has been designed to be more reliable and resistant to climate and deterioration than the Forth Road Bridge, making use of the latest and most durable materials. The structure uses modern paint systems, has a thicker road surface which is easier to replace and includes a dehumidification system which reduces moisture to prevent corrosion.
In addition, the cables on the replacement bridge can also be replaced with more ease, which means maintenance can be carried out as part of standard improvement works without the need to close the bridge.
Windshielding will be put into place on the new bridge to reduce the need to close the road during high winds, whilst hard shoulders will be used by buses diverted from the existing bridge when weather conditions are severe. Lighting has also been taken into consideration and light levels will not be increased by the creation of the replacement crossing.
An Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is being incorporated into the scheme and includes electronic lane signals, variable message signs, speed enforcement cameras and CCTV cameras. The ITS is being included to manage any congestion that may occur during peak times, it will implement mandatory variable speed limits and will allow Transport Scotland to manage traffic flows and respond to incidents.
The project is being completed in three phases. Phase One of the project comprises the principle contract to build the new bridge and connecting roads. The contract was awarded to the Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) consortium, comprising Hochtief, Dragados, American Bridge International and Morrisons. Phase One of the project is scheduled for completion in 2016 at a cost of £790 million.
Phase Two was the installation of elements of the project’s ITS on the M90 in Fife at a cost of £12.9 million. John Graham (Dromore) Ltd was the main contractor on Phase Two and work reached completion in summer 2012.
In the second Phase, the ITS measures extend along a 22km corridor from the M90, over the Queensferry Crossing to the M9. Overhead signal gantries along the route provide lane control, incident detection and variable mandatory speed control.
Finally, Phase Three involves the upgrade of M9 Junction 1a at Kirkliston and the contract was awarded to a consortium between John Sisk and Roadbridge at a cost of £25.6 million.
Phase Three, comprises improvements to M9 Junction 1a at Kirkliston, including new slip roads to the motorway. This also incorporates new slip roads between the M9 and M9 Spur, which will require a new bridge across the motorway and the extension of an existing bridge.
Throughout the construction programme, all environmental impacts have been taken into account through the use of vital assessments. Potential areas that could be affected, from geology and air quality, to noise and visual impact have all been carefully considered.
Four working groups were appointed to approve all work, to ensure that the best practices are being used at all times. Marine Liaison Group is overseeing the construction activities within the Firth of Forth, whilst Environmental Liaison Group is overseeing all environmental works and includes representatives from Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Marine Scotland and Historic Scotland.
Traffic Management Working Group is the consultant on limiting disruption to the road network and includes representatives from trunk and local road authorities and the emergency services. Meanwhile, Noise Liaison Group is overseeing the noise planning and control and includes representatives from local authorities and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Electromech Industrial Ltd, Electrical Installation specialists have been involved in the Queensferry Crossing, by initially supplying and commissioning the electrical installation for the on-site concrete plant. The company then gave assistance and technical support when the major concrete structures on the main three towers were being carried out.
Noise and vibration measuring specialists, Acoustic1, is supplying all the noise monitoring systems for the project. This involves measuring background noise throughout the project, from preconstruction up until completion.
James Roy and Iain Melvin, Directors of Electromech Industrial Ltd, said it was important for the company to work on the Queensferry Crossing because “it’s a very prestigious contract.” The company previously worked on the Olympic Stadium in London.
Work has been taking place on the project between Monday and Saturday, 8am to 7pm, whilst marine works are being conducted between 7am and 7pm. During certain aspects of the marine works, continuous working will be necessary.
The Queensferry Crossing is due for completion in 2016.
Bohnenstingl has worked on the development, the production and the sales of special surveying accessories. Their products are mainly developed according to ideas and requests of the firm’s Engineering and Surveying office – with the same name “Bohnenstingl” – in line with requests from customers.
The firm has been in operation since 1984 when they began producing specialised surveying equipment. The firm has worked with clients from all around the world and sells directly to customers, as well as to big resellers from Europe. The monitoring products the firm manufactures are used in shipyards, dams and bridges and a lot of products are used by geometers in the field.
Bohnenstingl have recently been involved with the Queensferry Crossing project where they delivered nests and ball prisms in order to monitor the construction of the bridge. The company also provided support and consultancy services to the onsite team regarding which products to use and how to work with them.
Tim Bohnenstingl said the project was very important for the firm to be involved in:
“We have been in the surveying business for a long time now, but we basically just started in monitoring. We are happy that new customers trust in our products and their quality. We are especially proud to be part of such big projects like the Queensferry Bridge and are looking forward to work with foreign customers more often in the future.”
“We invent, design, produce and deliver products of the highest quality possible sold at reasonable prices. We also try to resolve problems which appear during the local surveying, not by temporary arrangements but by creating a mature product.”
Portable & Modular Services
Portable & Modular Services specialise in the refurbishment, delivery and installation of modular and portable buildings, along with all associated services. The company has operated within the modular sector for 30 years and within this time has worked with all major UK construction and infrastructure companies covering education, health, construction, civils, MoD and power generation.
Working on the Queensferry Crossing project Portable & Modular Services was responsible for sourcing suitable ‘used’ modular buildings for use as project offices and welfare facilities. This entailed the complete interior refurbishment to cater for male and female workers, to provide canteen facilities along with office space.
The project required the delivery, installation and commissioning of works whilst working to a tight deadline and remaining on budget. Throughout the project, Portable & Modular Services ensure that they adhered to all the client’s H&S policies.
Discussing the importance of the project, Business Development Manager, Graham Flannigan, said:
“Major global companies are involved in the consortium, each one expecting high standards of accommodation for their respective staff. The projects were completed to the client’s satisfaction.”
“At Portable & Modular Services we pride ourselves on our professional and reliable services relating to the modular and portable building industry with the skills and resources to be a ‘turn-key’ supplier who can provide quality accommodation, of whatever size and configuration.”