Forth Road Bridge

Forth Road Bridge from the south

Forth Road Bridge from the south. The main span is 1006 m long and the towers are 155 m high.


26 August 2014

Queensferry, Firth of Forth

NT 12534 78112; 55.98795°N, 3.40357°W


Since the 11th century a ferry crossing over the Firth of Forth had served to link Edinburgh with Fife, which led to the growth of the two ports Queensferry and North Queensferry.

In 1883 construction of a railway connection started and the Forth Bridge opened in 1890. This Victorian bridge, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, was Britain’s first major steel structure and was until 1917 the world’s longest cantilever span.

Construction of the Forth Road Bridge alongside the rail bridge started in 1958 and it opened in 1964. The main span of the suspension bridge is 1006 m long and its total length is 2513 m. It was at the time the fourth longest span in the world and the longest in Europe. The Forth ferry service was discontinued when the road bridge opened. Tolls to cross the bridge were abolished by the Scottish Government in 2008.

The bridge was designed for 11 million vehicles per year. However, by 2006 the actual usage was 23 million. A structural survey in 2005 revealed a 10% loss in strength of the suspension cables due to corrosion. In light of the ensuing concerns over its long-term future, the decision to proceed with a replacement bridge, proposals for which had been put forward in the 1990s, was made in 2007 and construction of a cable-stayed bridge to the west of the Forth Road Bridge commenced in 2011. The new bridge, to be known as the Queensferry Crossing, is scheduled for completion in 2016, after which the existing road bridge will remain in use only for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

Further Reading

Forth Road Bridge (Bridge Authority);
Forth Road Bridge (Wikipedia);
Forth Replacement Crossing (Transport Scotland)


Commemorative monument

Commemorative monument in the bridge administration building car park

Bridge deck

Bridge deck. The road level is approximately 5 m higher at mid span than at the main towers.

Side-span suspension-cable anchor

Side-span suspension-cable anchor

Suspension cable

Suspension cable and hangers

Suspension cable

Suspension cable

Suspension cable

Suspension cable

Suspension cables

Suspension cables. The main cables are approximately 600 mm in diameter and comprise 11,618 5 mm wires.


Tower. The height of the towers above mean high water is 155.5 m.

Walking the suspension cable

Walking the suspension cable – part of the ongoing programme of bridge maintenance and strengthening

Progress on the Southern Approach Viaduct of the Forth Replacement Crossing, scheduled for completion in 2016

Progress on the Southern Approach Viaduct of the Queensferry Crossing, the replacement bridge scheduled for completion in 2016

Construction of the Forth Replacement Crossing

Construction of the Queensferry Crossing, with the Southern Approach Viaduct on the left and one of the 2,700 m long cable-stayed bridge’s three towers on the right. Once complete the towers will stand up to 210 m above high tide.

Shadows of the Forth Bridge.  The Victorian cantilever rail bridge opened in 1890.

Shadows of the Forth Bridge. The Victorian cantilever rail bridge opened in 1890. Its towers are 100 m high and the overall length of the bridge is 2529 m. Up to 4600 men were employed in its construction. 63 of them lost their lives.

26 thoughts on “Forth Road Bridge

  1. Graham–Industrial photography is so challenging to me. I think you made the Forth look gorgeous. The last photo of the shadows is wonderful. Thank you so much for stopping by my site.


  2. A great post and beautiful photographs, full of diagonals and thoughtful compositions. I remember the hee-haw in the sixties when the bridge was opened- there was a lot of publicity, it would probably seem charming now 🙂 For me, the bridge has considerable merit, despite the tin worms, but I am always drawn to Baker, Fowler and Arrol’s masterpiece. By the way I claim my prize for spotting this week’s pit bing 🙂


    • Aha, yes, well done! Shale, I think.

      Well, in a couple of years’ time, you’ll be able to enjoy your 19th century favourite in the company of one from 20th and another from the 21st. It’ll be an interesting juxtaposition, with the side-by-side evolution from cantilever to suspension to cable-stayed.


  3. Nice photos of the bridge. It’s fascinating to me how the bridge has handled weight more than double its intended capacity for so long. The love locks tradition is interesting. I read the Wikipedia link about it… I had no idea this happens in many locations. I guess I should get out more 🙂


  4. Pingback: Albert Dock, Liverpool | GeoTopoi

  5. Pingback: Connel Bridge | GeoTopoi

  6. Great photos of a beautiful bridge – I love that curve. The house way in the distance in the 3rd photo is a nice touch. The 4th, 6th & 7th photos also really appeal to me, and the last. I appreciate that you begin with the whole bridge in context. It all adds up to a well-organized, artistic post. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.