Queen to open new bridge across the Firth of Forth

Image source, David Taylor
Image caption,
Members of the public will get the chance to walk across the bridge before its official opening

The Queen will officially open a new bridge over the Firth of Forth next month.

She will be joined by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the ceremony on the Queensferry Crossing on 4 September.

The £1.35bn bridge will open to traffic on 30 August, but it will close on 2 and 3 September to allow pedestrians to cross.

The opening ceremony will take place exactly 53 years after the Queen opened the Forth Road Bridge.

The new crossing will replace the existing road bridge as the main route between Edinburgh and Fife.

On the day of the Queen's visit activities will take place on both sides of the 1.7 mile bridge.

They will include a welcome address by the first minister and a blessing by the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Scotland's Makar, Jackie Kay, will read a poem specially commissioned for the occasion and there will be live music performances.

Image source, Forth Road Bridge
Image caption,
The Queen formally opened the Forth Road Bridge in 1964

Ms Sturgeon said: "It is very fitting that the Queensferry Crossing will be officially opened by The Queen, exactly 53 years to the day from when she opened the Forth Road Bridge.

"Importantly, this celebratory event will recognise the thousands of people who have been involved in the construction of the new bridge.

"The Queensferry Crossing is a symbol of a confident, forward-looking Scotland and - as well as providing a vital transport connection for many years to come - it is a truly iconic structure and a feat of modern engineering."

Image source, Steven Strathearn
Image caption,
Some members of the public will get the chance to walk over the bridge before it fully opens to traffic on 6 September

The Queensferry Crossing in numbers

  • More than 15,000 people have been involved in the project since the inception of plans for a new bridge in 2007;
  • It has created 1,200 jobs in the local area with thousands more indirectly employed;
  • Engineers used 23,000 miles of cables, almost enough to wrap around the earth's equator;
  • A total of 35,000 tonnes of steel, the equivalent of 80 Boeing 747s, was used in construction;
  • It is 207m in height above high tide - 50m taller than the Forth Road Bridge and 97m more than the rail bridge

Source: Scottish government

The new bridge will be closed to traffic on 2 and 3 September to allow 50,000 members of the public walk across the bridge as part of the Queensferry Crossing Experience.

Around 250,000 applied for a ballot to take part in the one-off event.

A "community day" on 5 September will give another 10,000 people from local schools and community groups an opportunity to walk across the bridge before it re-opens to traffic, with no pedestrian access, on 6 September.

Image source, Sam Ross
Image caption,
Construction of the bridge began in June 2011

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said "Scotland will celebrate a moment in history" when the Queen opens the bridge.

"At this unique moment, the country will become the world's first destination to have three bridges spanning three centuries in one stunning location," he said.

"It is a time to not only celebrate Scotland as a nation of pioneering innovation, design and engineering, but also give thanks all those who have worked tirelessly to create this unique new structure.

"People are fascinated worldwide by bridges, whether it's for their beauty, grandeur or breath-taking engineering prowess. The addition of the Queensferry Crossing consolidates the Forth Bridges as global icons of Scotland and we look forward to showcasing all three awe-inspiring structures to the world for many years to come."

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