Crowds celebrate as Edinburgh’s Queensferry Crossing is given a ceremonial royal opening

On Monday 4  September the Queen opened the Queensferry Crossing, the new main road route between Edinburgh and Fife.

Accompanied by her husband Prince Philip, the monarch opened the bridge exactly 53 years after she opened the neighbouring Forth Road Bridge.

The event included a ribbon cutting ceremony and the unveiling of a plaque. 

The Right Reverend Dr Derek Browning, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, then blessed the bridge as it was declared formally open.

Adding to the celebrations, the strong crowd were treated to a fly-past by the Red Arrows while a flotilla of boats travelled under the bridge to the sound of the national anthem.

In her speech, the Queen described the £1.35 billion project as a “breathtaking sight”, saying that it would provide an “important link” between the Lothians and Fife.

“The three magnificent structures we see here span three centuries.” She continued, “[they] are all feats of modern engineering and a tribute to the vision and remarkable skill of those who designed and built them.”

The Queen was accompanied by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who told the BBC, “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.

“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 vital transport connections for many years to come – it is a truly iconic structure and a feat of modern engineering.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney echoed her views, telling the BBC: “The Queensferry Crossing is one of the biggest infrastructure projects of its kind in the world.

“To go from inception to opening in under a decade is a momentous feat of planning and engineering.”

The bridge, a cable-stayed structure, is the longest of its kind in the world with its 1.6 mile span across the Firth of Forth. 

It is also the tallest in Britain, standing at 210m above high tide.

Taking all road traffic apart from buses, cyclists and pedestrians from the Forth Road Bridge, the new crossing has been dubbed a “queue-free drive home at motorway speeds” and promises to ease traffic congestion in the area.

However, the bridge’s opening has created problems for motorists as sightseers flocked to be amongst the first to drive over the bridge.

Problems are set to subside though with Stein Connelly, Traffic Scotland’s operations manager, telling The Daily Record, “people were understandably coming to see the new bridge and this did lead to congestion.

“We have seen tremendous levels of interest in the crossing and we really appreciate people’s patience as the new arrangements bed-in.”

 

Image: John McSporran

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