Queensferry Crossing 'more reliable' than old Forth Road bridge
The Queensferry Crossing has improved the reliability of journeys across the Firth of Forth in the year since it opened, according to new analysis.
Transport Scotland said the old Forth Road Bridge would have closed to high-sided vehicles on 14 occasions.
When an accident or breakdowns occur, it typically takes an hour to restore access on the new crossing, compared to up to five hours previously.
The statistics come as the Queensferry Crossing marks its first anniversary.
Transport Scotland said they showed that the new crossing was more reliable.
The main operational features of the UK's tallest bridge include wind shields and hard shoulders.
However, the contractor is still carrying out remedial and finishing work at night, which has an impact on those travelling outside of peak hours.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: "The recent Audit Scotland report recognised the Queensferry Crossing as having delivered its objective of providing a more reliable road link between the Lothians and Fife.
"One year on since opening the new bridge, we are today providing further evidence that shows how reliability of journeys over the Forth have improved in the last 12 months.
"This is in sharp contrast to the lengthy delays seen in the past on the Forth Road Bridge, where an accident or breakdown resulted in huge tailbacks and much longer journeys over the bridge and the surrounding road networks.
"The impacts of incidents on the Queensferry Crossing have been much reduced by making use of the hard shoulders to assist in quicker response times in the recovery of vehicles and allowing for the ability to maintain two lanes of traffic.
"There are clear and significant economic benefits from this reliable crossing for both industry and commuters alike, I am pleased to see this has been recognised by the road haulage industry today."
Martin Reid of the Road Haulage Association said: "The importance of road transport to the Scottish economy and its supply chain cannot be overstated and so the Forth Crossing is a vital route to cities and major conurbations along the East Coast.
"Any delays caused through using diversionary routes has a massive knock on effect in terms of service delivery and cost.
"There is little need to disguise the fact that the Queensferry Crossing remaining open during periods that would have closed the Forth Road Bridge has undoubtedly benefitted our industry and the Scottish economy in general."