Opening of the new Queensferry Crossing to traffic last week marked the completion of Scotland’s first ‘managed motorway’ corridor. The new bridge over the Firth of Forth is the centrepiece of a 22km long scheme which includes major motorway upgrades to the north and south of the record breaking structure.
This route features the first ever use of variable mandatory speed limits in the country, with a traffic management system and associated technology – which is shortly due to be fully operational – used to smooth traffic flows.
Technology installed as part of the scheme includes overhead gantry mounted signage at 50 regularly spaced locations across the corridor. ITS is also being used to control dedicated bus lanes within the motorway hard shoulders – another first for Scotland.
Use of these technologies is expected to bring benefits in the shape of emissions reduction, improved journey times and journey time reliability, and improved safety through reduction in number of accidents.
“With the completion of the Queensferry Crossing, a 22km managed motorway corridor stretching from M90 Junction 3 (Halbeath) to M9 Junction 1 (Newbridge) is realised, the first of its type in Scotland,” commented the project’s Employers Delivery Team senior engineer Euan Scott.
“The intelligent transport system features being deployed provide a full incident management and driver information system, together with mandatory variable speed limit signalling that will be implemented when congestion or incidents require reduced vehicle speeds to manage traffic flow or operational safety.”
He added: “Public transport priority is provided through use of the Forth Road Bridge as part of a Public Transport Corridor between Edinburgh and Fife, with actively managed hard shoulder bus lanes on sections of the M90 and M9 southbound facilitating the throughput of bus traffic during times of congestion.”
The Queensferry Crossing was officially opened by the Queen this week. It has a 2.7km span over the Firth of Forth and replaces the function of the existing Forth Road Bridge, which will now only be open to public transport.