Column: Queensferry Crossing tailbacks, but no roadworks or breakdowns in sight
You know things are getting back to normal when traffic slows to a standstill trying to get over the Queensferry Crossing.
It’s now so bad, you have to factor in an extra 15- 20 minutes into any journey time - and all for no apparent reason.
Doesn’t matter if you are heading north or across the bridge, you find the same scenes in front of you; flashing signs saying 50mph, then 40mph, and then that slow, pointless crawl on to the structure.
And no sooner do you hit the brow, than everyone speeds up once more.
No accident, no breakdown, and often not even a single traffic cone in sight, and still both lanes trundle along until that halfway point when you can touch the accelerator once more.
Three times in the past week - all at different times of the day and evening - I’ve encountered that sinking feeling unique to seeing any long tailback ahead.
Heading back from Edinburgh you inevitably start to queue just as you round the corner leading directly to the bridge.
Going south, somewhere just after joining at Halbeath you know what awaits round the corner.
I have 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.
There is a psychology to how tailbacks occur.
One driver goes a few miles per hour slower, and there’s a knock on effect down the line.
As everyone slows, so those joining the tailback have to gear down to a crawl, and so it goes on until the last car joins several miles and 35 minutes away.
Out of nowhere, you have a delay that is long and utterly pointless. Flashing signings slowing speeds from 50 to 40 play their part too.
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.
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 once again grinds to a halt regularly.
But, pandemic come and go, and the same old issues remain unresolved.
Suddenly those old queues to pay your 40p bridge toll don’t seem quite so irritating any more …