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31 August 2016, 18:37
Final work has started to replace the damaged structure that led to the closure of the Forth Road Bridge at the end of last year.
The busy crossing had to be shut to all traffic early in December when a crack in a truss end link was discovered during a routine inspection.
Temporary brackets were installed to allow repairs to the truss link, allowing cars to use the bridge before Christmas, followed by heavier vehicles in February.
The truss end links are now being replaced with a new permanent sliding bearing arrangement, contractors Amey said.
The strength of the temporary brackets means the work will be carried out with ``minimal disruption to road users''.
A small number of overnight contraflows will be in place but Amey said they have already been scheduled at the same time as other planned routine maintenance activities.
Mark Arndt, from the Forth Bridges Unit, said: "We're delighted to be commencing work on the full replacement of the truss end links with a completely new redesigned arrangement.
"The repairs carried out last winter were necessary to get the bridge back open to traffic as quickly and safely as possible.
"Since then we've been planning and preparing for this permanent replacement, and it's remarkable that the team has reached this point less than nine months since the original defect was discovered.
"We'll press on now to get the job done with minimum disruption to bridge users.''
A Scottish Parliament committee investigated the closure of the bridge last year and concluded the crack ''could not have been foreseen''.
The new Queensferry Crossing is due to open next year and will ease the traffic burden over the Forth Bridge.
It was initially due for completion at the end of 2016 but ''adverse weather conditions'' in April and May hit construction, ministers said.