Urgent repairs will continue on the Forth Road Bridge on the mornings of Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March after work the previous weekend was disrupted by strong winds.
The bridge authority has also confirmed that a further three weekends of traffic restrictions will be required over the following weeks.
On Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 March traffic will be restricted to a single lane in each direction from 03:00 until 12:00 noon.
Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge using the west footpath/cycleway.
If weather causes work to be delayed then traffic restrictions may be extended into the afternoon. If work cannot be completed over the weekend then restrictions will be in place from 09:00 until 16:00 on the next available weekday.
Weekend traffic restrictions will also be required on Saturday 31 March and Sunday 1 April, and on two further weekends after Easter on dates to be confirmed.
FETA officials are working closely with colleagues from Transport Scotland, emergency services and nearby local authorities to co-ordinate these works with traffic management for the Forth Replacement Crossing project and minimise the impact on the travelling public. This includes the restrictions on the M90 that are due to begin on 9 April.
Barry Colford, Chief Engineer & Bridgemaster, said: “Stronger winds than forecast meant we did not make the progress that we hoped for over the weekend. At height on the cable the wind was gusting at over 45mph and this made it unsafe to lift materials and personnel.
“Further investigations have also now established that additional work is going to be necessary over the next few weeks.
“Four weekends in total will be required. This weekend’s work is the most critical and needs to be completed at the earliest opportunity. We will then need another weekend to remove the access cradle headworks and a further two weekends to carry out repairs on another part of the cable. This work is not quite as urgent and will be scheduled to avoid high traffic events such as Easter.
“We’ll do everything we can to minimise disruption but appreciate that significant delays are inevitable. We’re sorry for the inconvenience it will cause.
“Our advice is to avoid using the bridge at these times, take an alternative route or use public transport.
“Unfortunately these works are essential – if we don’t get them completed then we could face far more disruptive and costly repairs at a future date.
“The majority of the repair works will be carried out overnight or without the need for traffic restrictions, however daylight and a carriageway closure are necessary for us to safely provide access to the main cable. We’ll begin putting out cones at three a.m. on Saturday so that we’re ready to start work on the cable at first light, and we’ll remove the traffic restrictions as soon as we possibly can.”