Queen opens new Queensferry Crossing

Image source, PA

The Queen has officially opened the new Queensferry Crossing.

She was accompanied by Prince Philip as she cut the ribbon on the £1.35bn road bridge - exactly 53 years after she opened the Forth Road Bridge.

The Queen said the structure, the UK's tallest bridge, was a "breathtaking sight" and one of three "magnificent structures" across the Forth.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said people would "marvel" at the bridge in 100 years.

The Queen met children and officials at the south end of the bridge and was given a floral posy by Elizabeth Martin, grand-daughter of crossing project director Michael Martin.

After cutting the ribbon to cheers from the watching crowd, the Queen then travelled by car across the bridge.

She then made a speech and unveiled a plaque to declare the crossing formally open.

Image source, PA
Image source, PA
Image caption,
The Queen gives a speech while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon looks on
Image source, PA
Image source, Ivon Bartholomew

There was also a fly-past by the Red Arrows and a flotilla of boats travelled under the bridge as the national anthem was played.

The bridge was blessed by the Church of Scotland's Moderator, The Right Rev Dr Derek Browning.

The Queen said the bridge, which sits beside the Forth Road Bridge and the Forth Rail Bridge, would be an "important link" between the Lothians and Fife.

"The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries, are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them," she added.

Media caption,
Scots Makar's poem in dedication to the new Queensferry Crossing
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
L/Cpl Cruachan IV, the mascot of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, on the bridge
Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images

In her speech, Ms Sturgeon told the workers who built the bridge that in 100 years people would "gaze at the towers and marvel and what you have created".

Ms Sturgeon said the creation of the bridge was an "outstanding achievement" as she thanked those involved in the project.

She told them: "The nation's heart is bursting with pride at what you have achieved."

The bridge opened to traffic last Wednesday. It then shut at the weekend to allow 50,000 members of the public to walk across it . They were selected in a ballot.

Local schools and community groups will be allowed to walk over the bridge on Tuesday before it closes to pedestrians for good.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon greeted the crowds

It will then reopen to traffic on Thursday.

The crossing is essentially an extension of the M90 motorway across the Forth with a 70mph speed limit, although operators said an initial 40mph limit would be in place to take account of "driver distraction".

The new bridge will take most of the traffic that currently uses the 53-year-old Forth Road Bridge.

The old one will remain open for cyclists, pedestrians and buses.

Image source, PA

Construction of the Queensferry Crossing began in 2011, with a variety of milestones marked along the way.

More than 10,000 people have worked on the site at some point, clocking up over 13 million hours of work.

About 24 million vehicles are expected to use the crossing each year, reducing the strain on the older road bridge.

The new bridge has a projected life of 120 years but could last for longer than that, experts believe.

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