Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has warned of possible chaos for motorists this winter if their car windscreens are hit by falling ice from cables on the Queensferry Crossing.
The politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, has been told by Transport Minister Michael Matheson that sensors which detect ice accumulation will be fitted to the £1.3 billion bridge in a bid to avert the problem which saw three car windscreens being smashed by falling ice last winter.
Mr Fraser is alarmed that the Scottish Government haven’t already fitted the required sensors after learning of a similar scenario in Canada, and, as a result, he fears there could be chaos on the Queensferry Crossing this winter with lane closures being used in the event of falling ice from the bridge’s cables.
Commenting, he said: “In a written Parliamentary answer to a question I asked on whether sensors have been fitted to the Queensferry Crossing to alert engineers to the hazard of ice building up on its cables, Transport Minister Michael Matheson told me that sensors which detect ice accumulation will be fitted to the bridge.
“However, surely the Scottish Government should have addressed this problem before now with overnight temperatures already plummeting at this time of year. It is an issue that should have been solved before the bridge was opened to traffic.
“I have been told the Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver, Canada, which has a similar climate to Scotland, encountered the same problem as the Queensferry Crossing. The authorities there found a solution, implemented it and then publicised it.
“I find it baffling that the solutions developed in Vancouver have not been utilised on the Queensferry Crossing.
“Not only is this issue of ice forming on the bridge’s cables a risk to driver safety, it could cause serious disruption and chaos for commuters and businesses.”
Attached is the written Parliamentary answer on the issue:
Murdo Fraser (Mid Scotland and Fife) (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party): To ask the Scottish Government whether sensors have been fitted to the Queensferry Crossing to alert engineers to the hazard of ice building up on its cables, with risk of it falling on to the carriageways.
Michael Matheson: The issues with ice are thought to be a result of a very specific set of weather conditions arriving in March 2019. Since then, processes have been developed to ensure that any ice formation is monitored and managed to minimise the impact on traffic over the structure.
Sensors which detect ice accumulation will be fitted to the bridge and incorporated in the structural health monitoring system.
The conditions that can lead to a build-up of ice of this kind are very rare in the Forth estuary.