THE Queensferry Crossing has gone from being a mere bridge to national treasure in the space of the last three days. This happened because it befell a fate that happens to all bridges during bad weather in that it closed.
Now normally when this happens the 80,000 or so daily commuters who are left with massive disruption and a 35-mile detour are left quietly fuming, but on the whole understanding as these things happen.
But the Queensferry Crossing was only opened in 2017 and at a cost of £1.35bn it didn’t come cheap, so when it was closed on Monday by icicles falling onto the carriageway, the reaction was, fair to say, mixed.
Icicles also fell from the bridge onto the carriageway last March and narrowly missed three cars. Motorists were reassured that new sensors would soon be in place and it wouldn’t happen again.
But less than a year later, after the fury of Storm Ciara had died down, ice again formed on the bridge and crashed on to eight cars below, so bosses quite sensibly closed it.
Various bridges across the UK had also been closed during the storm after all. However, the Queensferry Crossing was shut for the very reason that was supposed to be have been sorted after the similar incident last year so the public had legitimate questions to ask.
This is after all, the main route south into the nation’s capital and was supposed to remain open more frequently than its predecessor the Forth Road Bridge.
If this had happened in our Nordic neighbours on a route into Stockholm, Oslo or Helsinki then it’s almost certain the fault would have been rectified before the next winter, but not here.
But when some politicians and media outlets asked for some legitimate answers, they were drowned out by opponents who seemed not to care about the failings of the bridge but rather about the reputation of the Government.
Anyone questioning the failings of the ‘beloved’ bridge are, inevitably of course, talking Scotland down.
The Queensferry Crossing is not a political tool, but a vital artery in and out of Edinburgh. Millions of journeys are made over it every year and it should not be closed by icicles.
Questions also need to be asked why the Forth Road Bridge was being resurfaced in winter, thus taking out the main relief route and forcing motorists to endure a larger diversion. It is important to learn so that the farce cannot happen again.