The Queensferry Crossing in Scotland will open five months later than planned.
The consortium building the Crossing – Forth Crossing Bridge Constructors’ (FCBC) – has informed Ministers that ongoing effects of weather on construction mean it will require more time to complete the bridge.
The original target for completion was December 2016. However, in a statement Transport Scotland said that since September 2015 the downtime due to adverse weather, specifically wind, has been 40% compared to the 25% anticipated by the contractor. Until May, FCBC believed that they could mitigate these effects - however, the impact of the weather in April and May with 13 days and 12 days lost to weather was such that they have advised that they can no longer deliver the December 2016 target.
The statement continued: “In order to mitigate the ongoing weather impacts that have arisen over the past few months FCBC has procured additional physical resource, increased staffing by taking on an additional 100 workers, increased working hours, altered construction methodologies where possible and challenged critical construction sequences to identify where any programme efficiencies could be found.
“They have now reached the stage where further additional resources will not bring the delivery date forward due to the complex technical nature of the construction work. In addition, the remaining construction activities can only be carried out sequentially, further limiting the ability to make further gains.
“Specifically the bridge deck and the cable installation process which began in September 2015 is particularly sensitive to wind and this increases as the cables used become longer and are installed at a greater height .
“FCBC have confirmed this creates an unavoidable knock-on effect for subsequent activities, road surfacing and wind barriers which will now take place in wet and cold conditions during autumn and winter 2016/2017. This is a project with its own unique weather challenges and the contractor has incorporated their experience to date with weather in their planning process. As a result, they now expect to open the bridge by May 2017, ahead of the contractual completion date.”
Cabinet secretary for economy, jobs and fair work Keith Brown, said: “We will continue to work closely with the contractors and I will personally ensure that every pressure and every resource is brought to bear to deliver or even better the revised target date of May 2017
“Going forward, in order to ensure that this project remains on track, I have implemented enhanced governance procedures from Transport Scotland senior management and will receive twice weekly updates from the project team.
“We have always been ambitious about this project and have always worked towards a deliberately ambitious target. However, it is important to recognise that FCBC still fully expects the project to complete within the timeframe of their contract. This project is not late and there will be no impact on the public purse.”