Major security operation as 50,000 people walk over Queensferry Crossing

Security checks, bag searches and stringent restrictions face the 50,000 people who have won places to walk across the Queensferry Crossing today and tomorrow.
Morning traffic crosses the new Queensferry Crossing as it opens. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty ImagesMorning traffic crosses the new Queensferry Crossing as it opens. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Morning traffic crosses the new Queensferry Crossing as it opens. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and transport minister Humza Yousaf will join some of the first to cross the 1.7-mile bridge around 9am.

Walkers will have to pass through a series of security points and anti-terrorism ­barriers placed across the bridge approaches.

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They must also bring passports or other photo ID in addition to the personalised security passes containing their name and picture which they will have to wear on to special lanyards.

Bags and camera equipment will be searched and no food or drink will be allowed on the bridge or buses apart from 500ml of water per person.

Ms Sturgeon said: “It’s only right that the public get the chance of an up-close-and- personal look at this amazing structure so they can see the stunning engineering and views for themselves.

“I look forward to joining some of the 50,000 people lucky enough to participate in this unique opportunity.”

Meanwhile, KT Tunstall and King Creosote will be among performers taking part in the official opening of the bridge by the Queen on Monday.

The Fife musicians will appear together in a 40-minute set as part of the celebratory event in Rosyth.

It will follow the Queen cutting a ribbon on the south side of the bridge and unveiling a plaque at the north end.

A Red Arrows flypast will mark the opening, while a flotilla of 100 small boats and the Northern Lighthouse Board tender Pole Star will sail round the bridge’s central tower.

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Others artists taking part in the opening event include Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire and Karine Polwart. Hart will also compere the Rosyth event, which will feature a specially-composed poem read by Scots Makar Jackie Kay.

An arena with 4,000-seat grandstand has been built beside the construction site offices at The Cube, just west of the bridge in Fife.

Bridge workers, local people and school pupils are among those invited to the two-hour event, which starts at 10:30am.

The Queen, who is due to be accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will be met at the South Queensferry end of the bridge by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Edinburgh Lord Provost Frank Ross, who is also the city’s Lord Lieutenant.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland the Right Rev Dr Derek Browning will read a blessing before the Queen cuts a ribbon and is driven across the bridge.

Pete Irvine, who is organising the Rosyth event, said: “This is the response of Scotland’s cultural community to this fabulous piece of architecture.

“It’s going to be a very special event – for the workforce, people associated with the bridge, and the local community. It will be like a mini festival.”

Two five-minute films will also be shown, one by Leith-based Micky MacPherson on the bridge builders, featuring 50 pupils from Bankton Primary School in Livingston singing in hard hats in North Queensferry.

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The other film, A Love Letter to Scotland’s Bridges, by Don Coutts, will include more than 40 from across the country, from the Royal Border Bridge in Berwick-upon-Tweed to the Kylesku Bridge in Sutherland.

The Queensferry Crossing, which opened to traffic on Wednesday, closed yesterday and will not re-open to until early on Thursday. Traffic will use the Forth Road Bridge.

Walk will take three hours

Walkers are warned their “Queensferry Crossing Experience” will take three hours – three times as long as they will have to cross the bridge.

They must arrive at a designated “travel hub” on either side of the Forth at least 15 minutes before their allocated departure time.

Buses from the Edinburgh hubs will transfer people to the south end of the bridge.

They will walk on the northbound carriageway and be ­collected by buses leaving every ten minutes from the north end to take them back at the end of their walk.

Those travelling from Fife hubs will do the opposite – and by using the southbound ­carriageway are likely to get the better view, looking east to the Forth Road Bridge and Forth Bridge.

Information displays on the bridge will describe its construction, supplemented by construction workers on hand as uniformed “ambassadors” to answer questions.

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No bikes, dogs or other pets are allowed apart from “accredited assistance dogs”, but the buses can take wheelchairs.

Collapsible pushchairs can be taken, but there will be nowhere to leave bags, and no catering on the bridge.

Walkers are advised to wear warm clothes, but only winds above 50mph will cancel the event.

Those struggling to get all the way across can use a fleet of courtesy vehicles shuttling along the hard shoulders,

Medical staff and disabled toilets will also be on hand.

The event is being run by GSi Events on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency, which is in charge of the bridge.

Walks for 6,500 bridge workers and their families are also on tomorrow, and for 10,000 local people on Tuesday.

The events are because the bridge has no public walkways and will become a motorway.