Queensferry Crossing illuminated to mark handover of bridge

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The Queensferry Crossing has been illuminated by a light show to mark the symbolic handover of the new bridge.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon took part in a procession of vintage, modern and electric vehicles across the bridge and thanked workers for their efforts before she switched on the lights on Monday night.

The bridge was plunged into darkness before the procession of around 20 vehicles made its way across.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, stands in front of the new Queensferry Crossing
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, stands in front of the new Queensferry Crossing (Andrew Milligan/PA)

After a short speech, Ms Sturgeon started the light display across the £1.35 billion crossing to mark the handover of the bridge from the contractors to the Scottish Government.

The crossing will open to traffic on Wednesday, joining the Forth road and rail bridges connecting Edinburgh and Fife.

Other guests at the handover ceremony included veteran workers who helped build the Forth Road Bridge, local schoolchildren and contractors to celebrate the "past, present and future" of engineering across the Firth of Forth.

Addressing crossing workers, the First Minister said: "This bridge is stunning.

"What you have done here is something very special.

"It is in every way an amazing achievement and I want to congratulate everyone involved.

"The weather in the middle of the Forth has made sure it was a challenge but you have made history and this bridge will serve Scotland for 150 years and more."

Construction began in 2011, with numerous records and milestones marked along the way.

Stephen Reid, one of two surviving Queensferry Passage skippers, with the bell from the Robert the Bruce ferry https://t.co/Mz0JnOKlpqpic.twitter.com/YrNWb4dQpm

-- Queensferry Crossing (@NewForthBridge) August 27, 2017

The 1.7-mile crossing has been "designed for maintenance" to ensure it runs smoothly for decades.

To avoid closures the Forth Road Bridge (FRB) has faced in bad weather, wind barriers have been installed along the Queensferry Crossing which can withstand the strongest gusts.

About 1,000 sensors have been fitted to give advanced warning of any problems, allowing maintenance teams to pre-empt potential issues.

It has a design life of 120 years but could last longer, with the cable-stayed structure chosen because of its easier maintenance.

The Queensferry Crossing will serve about 24 million vehicles each year, with the FRB to be used for buses, taxis and bikes as the strain is eased on the structure.