Queensferry Crossing set to open early

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The new Queensferry Crossing could open earlier than had previously been predicted with all three of its towers now standing at over half their height.

It is also expected that the initial cost of an estimated £1.6 billion will be slashed.

The new bridge takes shape. Pic: Andrew Milligan

The new bridge takes shape. Pic: Andrew Milligan

Low inflation is one of the factors in cutting the cost and a lack of delays mean that the bridge could now open ahead of the expected date of December 2016.

Concrete structures on the three 210 metre towers will be completed in the summer with the first cables set to be installed next spring.

Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown visited the north tower this week and praised the expertise and hard work of those involved, saying the scheme was a “shining example of good, efficient project management building”.

He added: “There are now over 1000 people working on the project in what is a 24 hour operation out on the water.

“Visiting in the middle of winter reminds us only too well of the harsh and challenging conditions those building the bridge will continue to face before the bridge opens in late 2016.

“The entire scheme has been widely praised and I am very pleased to report the three main towers now stand over 105 metres - meaning they are over half way to their final height of 210 metres.

“Not only that, but 10 per cent of the total bridge deck is now in place either side of the towers.

“With all of this work underway on a number of fronts I am very pleased to say that the project continues on schedule and under budget.”

From spring until the new crossing opens, drivers using the Forth Road Bridge will be slowed to 40mph while junctions are built at either end. New speed cameras are to be installed.

The timelapse video shows the construction process of the crossing during 2014. Video: Transport Scotland