Traffic on the Forth Road Bridge has been restricted to a single lane in each direction after a defect was found to a steel component beneath the southbound carriageway.
A detailed inspection has been launched after the defect was found during routine planned inspection.
A contraflow has been put in place on the northbound carriageway on the grounds of safety and to prevent any risk of damage until the detailed inspection has been undertaken.
A representative for the bridge’s Operating Company said: “We’ve taken the decision to close the southbound carriageway as a safety precaution after one of our engineers spotted a new defect to a piece of steelwork.
“Unfortunately this defect is located in a particularly hard to access area so the full detailed inspection cannot safely be carried out in darkness or during high winds. Our inspectors will however be monitoring the situation overnight and we will be ready to move in as soon as conditions allow.
“We apologise for the short notice to these essential traffic restrictions and are aware that they will result in very long delays, so our advice is to avoid Forth Road Bridge and divert via Kincardine or the A9 and M9, use public transport or travel outside peak times. We do sympathise with all drivers who face delays, however I’m sure everyone appreciates that safety must come first.
“We’ll provide further updates once our investigation is complete and we have information to share.”