Forth Road Bridge Opened
Contrary to expectations at the time, the Forth Road Bridge was able to pay for itself – the government’s contribution in grant form only accounting for about two thirds of the cost, the rest loaned. And as is ever the case, traffic eventually far exceeded original estimates, now well over four times the anticipated 5 million vehicles per annum.
The bridge was opened by Queen Elizabeth amid great state pageantry and symbolism: Highland and Lowland regiments participating, and the other two services providing a fly-past and gun salute. Poignantly the ages old ferry service between South Queensferry and North Queensferry also ended on the same day, the Queen taking the last boat on her return journey across the Forth .
This was perhaps a more ambitious age: the bridge when opened was the longest suspension bridge in Europe; standing proudly 50m above the waters at its highest point the structure took nearly 40000 tons of steel: sadly the project also cost three men their lives.
The Forth Road Bridge was often called Edinburgh ’s link to Perth , or the Highlands , though more local places like Dunfermline , Kirkaldy , Cowdenbeath and Kinross also benefitted greatly from the easier routes it provided and still provides.
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