A row has broken out between transport bodies in Scotland over the effect the Queensferry Crossing construction project should have on the speed limit on the Forth Road Bridge.
Transport Scotland, which is delivering the new £1.4bn crossing near Edinburgh, said a reduction from 50mph to 40mph had been agreed on the existing bridge.
But the Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA), which owns and operates the existing bridge, denied this – and suggested such a move may be unnecessary.
Construction on the £1.4bn Queensferry Crossing reached the halfway point at the start of this year, and the bridge could be open to the public in 2016.
A spokesman for Transport Scotland said: “The project team have been in discussions with FETA on planning for traffic management on the A90/M90 works north of the Forth Road Bridge for around 12 months.
“The proposal to extend the 40 mph limit – which will be enforced for driver and road-worker safety in the vicinity of the works – across the bridge has been universally agreed by members of the project’s Traffic Management Working Group, including FETA, local authorities and Police Scotland.”
But FETA convener Lesley Hinds said: “Any reduction in [the bridge’s] speed limit can only be implemented by FETA.
“No formal request has been made by Transport Scotland… we were therefore surprised to read comments made to MSPs suggesting that plans were already in place.
“We would also question Transport Scotland’s assertion that a reduction in speed limit is necessary due to distraction being caused by construction of the new bridge. As operators of the Forth Road Bridge we have seen no evidence that drivers are slowing down on the bridge and there has been no increase in accidents.”
Transport Scotland conceded that some formalities remained to be completed before the speed limit came into place in early summer. FETA said it could not make a decision until it had received a formal request.