Queensferry Crossing lit up ahead of opening

media captionThe new £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing comes to life in multi-colour.

The new £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing has been lit up to mark the handover of the bridge from the contractors to the Scottish government.

The 1.7-mile (2.7km) crossing over the River Forth will fully open to traffic for the first time on Wednesday.

On Monday night, a procession of vehicles travelled across the structure ahead of a handover ceremony.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon then switched on the lights and a projection was beamed over the entire bridge.

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image captionThe first minister took part in the official handover of the bridge
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image captionThe new crossing over the River Forth was lit up on Monday night
image copyrightGetty Images

Addressing workers on the crossing, Ms Sturgeon thanked them and told them they had "made history".

She added: "Design, engineering and construction - in its own right it is absolutely amazing.

"But when you put it into the context of these two other amazing bridges, what you have done here is create something truly special.

"This is going to be a tourist attraction. It adds beautifully to the Scottish skyline."

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image captionThe ceremony lit up the night sky
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image captionSpectators watch the "switch-on"

The new crossing will take most of the vehicles that currently travel over the 53-year-old Forth Road Bridge.

The existing suspension bridge will be adapted to be used by lighter traffic such as cycles, pedestrians and public transport.

The current Forth Road Bridge opened in 1964 but a serious problem was found with corrosion of the wires inside its cables not long after its 40th birthday.

The corrosion meant that the bridge's cables had already lost about 10% of their strength and it was forecast that it might not be able to take the heavy loads for much more than a decade.

The decision to replace it was taken in 2007, with construction of the new crossing beginning in September 2011.

The new bridge has been "designed for maintenance" to ensure it runs smoothly for decades.

To avoid closures the Forth Road Bridge has faced in bad weather, wind barriers have been installed along the Queensferry Crossing which can withstand the strongest gusts.

Engineers believe the crossing will never have to close to vehicles in strong winds, saying "if you can drive to the bridge then you can cross" as the barriers will make the bridge calmer than approach roads.

Opening the Queensferry Crossing

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image captionThe new crossing will open to traffic for the first time on Wednesday

Wednesday 30 August

In the early hours of the morning, the Queensferry Crossing will fully open to traffic in both directions.

Police will put in place a rolling roadblock to stop traffic driving across the Forth Road Bridge and will redirect them across the Queensferry Crossing.

The northbound carriageway will be opened first. The southbound carriageway will be opened about 45 minutes later.

The bridge will be fully open to traffic for the rest of the day and the following day.

Friday 1 September

Early in the morning, the Queensferry Crossing will close to all traffic.

Police will redirect all vehicles back across the Forth Road Bridge.

It will remain closed until the early hours of Thursday morning.

Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 September

About 50,000 members of the public, who were given tickets after a ballot, will get a "once in a lifetime" chance to walk over the new bridge on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday 4 September

The Queen will officially open the Queensferry Crossing. She will be joined by the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland will bless the bridge, and the Queen will cut a ribbon on the south side.

Tuesday 5 September

A chance for a further 10,000 local people and school children to walk the bridge.

Thursday 7 September

The bridge will re-open to traffic, with no pedestrian access.

The initial speed limit will be 40mph but after work has been completed to adapt the Forth Road Bridge public transport will be switched back to the old bridge and the Queensferry Crossing will become a 70 mph motorway.

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