Forth Road Bridge

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The Forth Road Bridge is a suspension bridge in east central Scotland. The bridge, opened in 1964, spans the Firth of Forth, connecting the capital city Edinburgh, at South Queensferry, to Fife, at North Queensferry. The bridge replaced a centuries-old ferry service to carry vehicular traffic, cyclists, and pedestrians across the Forth; rail crossings are made by the adjacent and historic Forth Bridge.

Issues regarding the continued tolling of the bridge, and those over its deteriorating condition and proposals to have it replaced or supplemented by an additional crossing, have caused it to become something of a political football for the Scottish Parliament, which eventually voted to scrap tolls on the bridge with effect from 11 February 2008.

Contents

History

The first crossing at what is now the site of the bridge was established in the 11th century by Margaret, queen consort of King Malcolm III, who founded a ferry service to transport religious pilgrims from Edinburgh to Dunfermline Abbey and St Andrews.[1] Its creation gave rise to the port towns of North and South Queensferry, which remain to this day; and the service remained in uninterrupted use as a passenger ferry for over eight hundred years. As early as the 1740s there were proposals for a road crossing at the site, although their viability was only considered following the construction of the first Forth bridge in 1890.[2]

The importance of the crossing to vehicular traffic was underpinned when the Great Britain road numbering scheme was drawn up in the 1920s. The planners wished the arterial A9 road to be routed across the Forth here, although the unwillingness to have a ferry crossing as part of this route led to the A90 number being assigned instead.[3]

There was a period of renewed lobbying for a road crossing in the 1920s and 1930s, at which time the only vehicle crossing was a single passenger and vehicle ferry. Sir William Denny championed the expansion of that service in the 1930s, providing and operating on behalf of the London and North Eastern Railway two additional ferries that aimed to supplement the services of the adjacent railway bridge. Their success allowed for the addition of two more craft in the 1940s and 1950s,[4] by which time the ferries were making 40,000 crossings annually, carrying 1.5 million passengers and 800,000 vehicles.[5]

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