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The Queensferry crossing

William Wallace

Faculty Blog

By Transport Scotland [OGL (], via Wikimedia Commons

The new Queensferry Crossing, a road bridge located near Edinburgh and just a few kilometres from Edinburgh Business School, is scheduled to open during the first half of 2017. The bridge is the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world. It is around 2.7km long and the towers are around 200m above the level of the river. The bridge was commissioned to replace the nearby Forth Road Bridge, which was built in the 1960s and is now approaching the end of its fully operational working life.

The Queensferry Crossing was designed to meet an interesting range of project objectives. The government client was, of course, concerned about the usual time and cost issues but on this project a wider range of project objectives had to be considered.

In terms of maintenance objectives, the nearby Forth Road Bridge (a suspension structure) suffers from condensation-based corrosion within the suspension cables so the new bridge was designed to incorporate a condensation control system and to allow the individual support cables to be replaced without closing the bridge.

In terms of usability objectives, the Forth Road Bridge generates traffic congestion as it is a dual carriageway (non-motorway) structure served by motorway standard feeder roads. The new bridge was, therefore, designed to full motorway specification in order to cope with increased traffic volume and to eliminate non-motorway traffic.

Environmental objectives were also paramount. For example, the bridge lighting does not increase local light pollution and is designed to be dimmable. Low-noise road surfacing and sound-deflection barriers have been included, where necessary, to control noise pollution. The bridge and approach roads feature a sustainable urban drainage system incorporating catchment basins etc. to control rainwater run-off and prevent localised flooding.

Despite a wide range of demanding project objectives the contractors have managed to deliver the Queensferry Crossing both within the original budget and close to the original time limits set by the client (some unavoidable delay was caused by high winds).  It is an example of how good project management can deliver project success even where there are multiple complex objectives