Forth bridge back on track – and the lesson to be learned
Transport Scotland is about to start a press conference to announce that the Forth Road Bridge will be open to all traffic, including lorries, with effect from 23:00 tomorrow evening, Saturday 20 February.
The RHA has welcomed the news. We recognise the professionalism and dedication of the engineers who have made good the structural problems on the bridge. Doubtless there are lessons to be learned for the future as to how this bridge, so vital not only to road haulage but to the Scottish economy as a whole, needed to be closed but that is for another day.
Throughout the period since the sudden closure of the bridge, the RHA has worked in constructive partnership with Transport Scotland to ensure that the inevitable, serious impact on the road haulage industry and its customers was kept to a minimum. The decision to create a dedicated truck route was vital in maintaining the business supply chain, not least for vital exports; and the measured relaxation of enforcement of drivers’ hours rules was an important element in maintaining operational efficiency. We acknowledge the contribution of the Department for Transport in that regard, as the body responsible for authorising the relaxation.
RHA members have done an outstanding job in adapting to very difficult operating conditions and maintaining service levels at a high standard, despite increased costs which in many cases they have been unable to recover. The closure has cost the industry a lot of money and this has to be recognised by both government and customers.
Martin Reid, RHA director for Scotland, said: “The return to normal tomorrow is a huge relief for all concerned. All too often we take our core road infrastructure for granted and that cannot be allowed to happen in future.”