What has happened to the Forth Road Bridge?

8th December 2015


Tuesday 1 Dec: Failure of the inner link support beam to the north east tower truss end link was identified during an inspection at 15:30. *For information on the defect please click here.*

Closure of southbound carriageway was implemented at 21:30 with contraflow on northbound carriageway.

Wednesday 2 Dec: Specialist engineers commence structural inspection and assessment, which progressed into the night.

Thursday 3 Dec: Further assessment was undertaken with respect to alternative traffic loading and live loading on the bridge. Non-destructive testing was undertaken at the affected location and design solution was developed for both interim and permanent repairs. The structural assessment indicated significant overstress at this and other locations. Therefore the bridge was required to close for heavy goods vehicles at 14:30.

Further testing identified a likely crack in the remaining outer link support beam. After further analysis the decision was made to close the Forth Road Bridge to all traffic at midnight. Given the programme and time scales expected the bridge shall remain closed until after the New Year.

Forth Road Bridge Closure Travel Plan

With over 100,000 people travelling over the River Forth on a typical working day the closure of the Forth Road Bridge will cause significant disruption to people and businesses in the local area and across the East of Scotland. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the public for their continued patience at this time and to reassure them that we are aware of the significant impact this has caused. We are continuing to work with all our partners to minimise the impact where we can.

This travel plan has been prepared to help manage the disruption as best as possible and to provide you with a single point of information over the coming weeks.

In order to help make the travel plan work we are relying on everyone to play their part. We are asking you to think about your journey, make alternative arrangements where you can, and plan ahead.

This plan has been developed with the help of public transport operators and local and national roads authorities. It will be monitored and evaluated on a daily basis and adjustments made where necessary so please check back regularly.

Reducing the Need to Travel

Please consider whether you can work flexibly either by changing your normal working hours, by changing location to somewhere close or by working from home. We encourage all employers in the east of Scotland and Fife, Edinburgh and West Lothian in particular to think about how you can make adjustments to your business needs.


Road Restrictions

There will be road restrictions and diversions in place to help make the best use of available capacity. This will include restricting the use of parts of the road network to bus and HGV traffic only to improve access for public transport and businesses transporting bulk loads.

*A985 between Longannet Rbt and Cairneyhill Rbt now open to all vehicles between 8pm and 5am*

Diversion routes for cars and light good vehicles.

Bus/Heavy Goods Vehicle priority route.

A985 HGV Priority Route - To and from central Fife

A985 Bus Priority Route - To and from central Fife

Car and LGV Route - To and from central Fife

Car and LGV route - Eastbound to Dunfermline

Car and LGV route - Westbound from Dunfermline

Bus /HGV prioritisation lane

The closure of the Forth Road Bridge has had a significant impact on traffic across Scotland and we need to put a system in place that will allow as many people as possible to move around. This includes enhanced bus services, and to allow these to flow freely we have developed a Bus/HGV prioritisation route between Cairneyhill and Longannet. These will help ease pressures on the freight industry and businesses in the run up to the Christmas period.

More information on the operation of the prioritisation lane can be found in the FAQs

Bus Services

Stagecoach will be providing buses and coaches to operate from the Park and Ride sites at Halbeath and Ferrytoll into Edinburgh. This equates to 33 additional vehicles from Stagecoach with extra journeys which will provide 11000 extra seats per day, with buses operating up to every 10 minutes at peak times.

You should allow extra time for your journey as we expect it to take longer than normal however with the bus priority measures in place your bus journey should be quicker than taking the car.

Details of the bus service timetable can be found here:

Stagecoach timetable information



Bus priority measures are currently also being considered for the M9 between the M876 and Newbridge Interchange. More details will be provided when they become available.

Rail Services

The normal ScotRail timetable will continue to operate, with many services being strengthened with extra carriages. In addition to this strengthened timetable, ScotRail will be running regular additional rail services between Inverkeithing and Edinburgh Haymarket throughout the day. All these changes provide over 6,500 extra seats, equating to an uplift of over 40% of the normal daily capacity.

You should allow extra time for your journey as you might not get the service of your initial choice and stations are expected to be busier than normal. A queuing system will operate at Haymarket Station from the start of the evening peak period to allow passengers to board trains as quickly and effectively as possible.

It has not been possible to increase parking available at stations however buses will run between Ferrytoll and Inverkeithing rail station and you are encouraged to car share, walk or cycle where possible.

Timetable details are available here


Car Sharing

Car-sharing can be an effective option for longer trips to and from Edinburgh but also if you need to drive to a rail station or Park and Ride.

Liftshare enables organised car-sharing by connecting people travelling in the same direction so they can arrange to travel together and share the costs, whilst reducing congestion and pollution at the same time.

The link below connects to an established car share network in South East Scotland



Long Distance Travel

Traffic flows in this part of Scotland will be disrupted and if you are travelling from further afield, including between England and Fife or the north and east of Scotland, then you should consider alternative routes in the west of Scotland as early as possible. This could mean travelling on the A74(M) rather than the A1 or A68 and then travelling via the M80, M9 and A9 to Perth rather than the M90.

Walking and Cycling

You will not be able to walk or cycle across the Forth Road Bridge while the closure is in place.

Top Travel Tips

Consider whether your journey is necessary

Plan ahead and check information regularly

Allow extra time for your journey

Consider an alternative working pattern or location

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