Bridging the River Forth – spectacular engineering


At the end of August this year, the bridges currently spanning the River Forth outside Edinburgh will officially become a trio, with the opening of the Queensferry Crossing. To locals and visitors alike these bridges represent a spectacular sight. If you are unfamiliar with this area to the north of Scotland’s capital city here is a quick guide to the three bridges.

Forth Bridge

Located 14 km outside of the city center, the Forth Bridge has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. When this railway bridge opened in 1890 it was the world’s longest single cantilever bridge, spanning nearly 2,500 meters. Up to 200 trains cross the river on this impressive structure every day.

The bridge itself was built using the cantilever design. Around 55,000 tonnes of steel and 110,000 m3 of masonry were used in its construction, along with rubble, sand and timber. The cantilever’s three towers are supported on four piers sunk into the riverbed far below.

The original designs for the bridge, prepared by civil engineer Sir Thomas Bouch, were abandoned after one of his previous designs, the railway bridge over the River Tay, collapsed during a storm in 1879. Around 70 passengers on a train that was crossing at the time were drowned in the turbulent river below. This remains the UK’s worst ever construction accident.

Forth Road Bridge

Opened in 1964, the Forth Road Bridge is a 2,500 meter long suspension bridge that was constructed to replace the previous ferry system that transported passengers, cars and cyclists across the Forth. Accommodating daily traffic of around 65,000 vehicles, there have been maintenance issues that have highlighted the need to decant the volume of traffic to another bridge.

Queensferry Crossing

Scheduled to opened in autumn 2017, the Queensferry Crossing is a cable-stayed bridge stretching for 2,700 meters. This will carry the M90 motorway between Lothian and Fife, taking the heavy volume of road traffic that previously used the Forth Road Bridge. The latter will be restricted to larger vehicles, such as lorries or buses. It was named the Queensferry Crossing after a public vote on a potential name for the third bridge over the Forth. The bridge’s vast decks were constructed in Spain and China and delivered by ships. Its towers stand at 200 meters, making the Queensferry Crossing the UK’s tallest bridge. Due to open in December 2016, inclement weather conditions forced the date to be pushed back several months.

Interestingly, construction of Scotland’s latest engineering marvel unearthed a dwelling that archaeologists dated from the Mesolithic era, around 8300 BC. This became the earliest known example of human habitation in Scotland.

The opening of the third bridge will undoubtedly have a knock on affect on the local economy, easing congestion and increasing the ease with which the inhabitants of Fife and Lothian can commute. If you are interested in keeping abreast of positive economic developments and the impact they can have on marketing, then you should visit this site to gain a better understanding of the possibilities.

Visiting the three bridges

A popular haunt for tourists and locals is South Queensferry, where the bridges can be viewed from the river’s southern shore. The location is ideal for anyone who has meet someone in a site such as and is now looking for somewhere a bit out of the ordinary than the conventional pubs or restaurants to pursue a romantic liaison. As the sun sinks into the horizon beyond the Queensferry Crossing you can