This article was published on the City A.M. website on 13 September 2017 as part of Invest Edinburgh Talk.
The royal opening of the Queensferry Crossing, signalled the successful culmination of the biggest infrastructure project in Scotland for a generation. Exactly 53 years since Her Majesty opened the adjacent Forth Road Bridge, The Queen officially cut the ribbon to open the £1.35bn Queensferry Crossing on Monday 4 September 2017.
The new iconic structure, which boasts a span of 1.7 miles (2.7km) – making it the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world – provides a major economic boost to the Edinburgh city region. Not only will it secure long-term transport links to the rest of Scotland, it is expected to stimulate fresh investment across the wider region.
- More than 23,000 miles of cabling has been used on the bridge, almost enough to circumnavigating the Earth at the equator.
The bridge itself is the eye-catching keystone in a major infrastructure investment programme that has also delivered 13.7 miles (22km) of major motorway upgrades to the north and south of the crossing.
The construction project has already been a catalyst for employment and business opportunities since work began in 2011. More than 15,000 people have been inducted to work on the site, clocking up over 18 million hours of work in the process.
Built with a projected lifespan of more than 120 years, the new bridge is expected to handle about 24 million vehicles each year, greatly reducing the strain placed on the now ageing Forth Road Bridge. The use of wind shielding will virtually eliminate the need to close the crossing to high-sided traffic during periods of high winds. Principal contractor, Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors (FCBC) – a multi-national collaboration – and its sub-contractors, have helped to deliver the project approximately £250m under budget.
- 150,000 tonnes of concrete was poured during the project; almost the same volume used for the entire London Olympic Park and Athletes Village.
Catalyst for investment
The three landowners situated along the neighbouring waterfront – Babcock International Group, Forth Ports and Scarborough Muir Group – are supporting an initiative set up by Fife Council and Scottish Enterprise to showcase Gateway Rosyth. The plans build on recent investment delivered in the area in preparation for the construction of the Royal Navy’s Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. In fact, Babcock Rosyth now boasts the UK’s largest non-tidal deep water basin, and operates Scotland’s only direct freight ferry service to Europe.
Located just 12 miles from Edinburgh Airport, Rosyth also offers fantastic connections to major motorway networks and the rail network. It offers easy access to North Sea oil and gas fields, Offshore Renewable Energy sites and European ports. Gateway Rosyth aims to capitalise on the presence of varied multinational companies already present including Oceaneering, QinetiQ, Marine Harvest and TechnipFMC, as well as Amazon, Sainsbury’s Bank and Sky, to create a world-class location for marine, energy, logistics and engineering businesses.
In addition to 71 hectares of prime development land available for development around the two ports, Scarborough Muir Group is developing ‘Queensferry One’ at Rosyth waterfront. Spanning 120 acres, Queensferry One is an iconic location offering industrial, office, warehousing and leisure space adjacent to the new Crossing, with views of the Forth Rail Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage site.