First Person: A bridge with far too many tailbacks

Traffic queuing on the Queensferry Crossing.
Traffic queuing on the Queensferry Crossing.

It happens almost without fail. Travelling north or south across the Queensferry Crossing you hit the same tailbacks at exactly the same point... and all for no reason at all.

No accident, no breakdown, and often not even a traffic cone in sight, and still both lanes of traffic slow to a crawl only to return to normal motorway speed as we reach the halfway point of the bridge.

Heading back from Edinburgh you inevitably start to queue just as you round the corner leading directly to the bridge.

Going south you turn off at Inverkeithing, start to nudge 70, and then find yourself staring at the tail lights of dozens upon dozens of cars within a few yards.

There is no doubt the delays are partly down to the hopeless design of the road network.

The slip roads either side are far too close to the bridge – you don’t need to be a traffic management consultant to see where the pinch point might come as cars pour down the roads and try to merge, one by one, into a tailback of snails-on-wheels.

But it’s also down to motorists being incapable of understanding how to drive on a motorway.

How often have we been stuck in a tailback, fumed and ranted as we crawl ever closer to the bridge, get to its brow and see everyone suddenly putting the pedal to the metal and zooming into the distance?

Leaving aside the inadequacies of the road design, these delays are man made, and happen for no reason at all.

All it takes is one driver to go a few miles per hour slower, and there’s a knock on effect down the line.

Everyone goes slower, leading to motorists joining the queue watching the needle barely nudge 20mph.

Within minutes you have a tailback - one that is long and utterly pointless.

And incredibly tedious.

Maybe it’s time the overhead information boards started telling people to drive properly – keep your speed constant and remember, it is a motorway not some country lane you can amble along while enjoying the scenery.

Either that or those who start these tailbacks are taken aside and given lessons in how to drive.

They should be easy to spot given the numerous cameras covering the area.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve joined the motorway, found the traffic at a standstill, and headed straight down the slip road to Ferrytoll, round the roundabout, and back up on to the bridge.

It usually knocks five minutes or so off my hanging-around time, and limits the crawl to a few hundred yards.

And, as we trundle along to the new crossing, we all look across to the Forth Road Bridge and wonder why on earth is it standing near empty?

Politicians and motoring organisations such as the RAC have raised the issue of a bridge that now carries barely 100 vehicles per day while its shiny new successor grinds to a halt regularly every day.

Common sense would suggest exploring ways of using both, but that doesn’t seem to be on the radar of politicians who’d rather bask in the acclaim of creating a shiny new crossing.

Meanwhile, the tailbacks keep on happening...