Tay Road Bridge major works 12 June 2023
What work is planned?
The original 1966 surface will be completely removed down to the concrete bridge deck and waterproofing applied before a new asphalt surface is laid on top. In addition, 92 new expansion or movement joints will also be installed.
Why is this work needed?
These works are required to keep the bridge in good condition and safe to use for all users. The road surface has never been completely replaced and the joints are nearing the end of their natural life, having last been replaced between 30 and 36 years ago. A new road surface will provide a safer and smoother journey across the bridge for users.
When will this work take place?
As a major project dependent on weather and other external factors, work will start on 12 June 2023, with the northbound carriageway closing for resurfacing, with completion expected in November 2023. The bridge will then fully reopen until spring 2024, when the opposite (southbound) carriageway will be closed for resurfacing. This will result in carriageway closures and traffic management arrangements on the bridge for an estimated total of 12 months over 2023 and 2024.
What does it mean for bridge users?
The bridge will be accessible for most vehicle types, although not abnormal loads, but crossing will be via a contraflow arrangement, where one full carriageway will be closed for a substantial part of 2023 and 2024. Both Fife and Dundee-bound traffic will use the remaining carriageway on a single lane basis, with traffic going in opposite directions separated by reflective marker posts. The current plan is that the shared path will remain open in both directions at most times but may be subject to temporary closure during certain work activities. Bridge users must expect delays to their journey during these essential works. Users trying to get to Tayport and Newport via the B946 and A92 will be diverted and diversionary signs will be in place.
Have you considered alternative arrangements?
As part of the extensive planning and preparation that is being carried out for these works the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board commissioned an appraisal of alternative transport options. The detailed and thorough process looked at measures which could reduce the impact on bridge users because of the works.
Likely congestion and with it delays, can best be addressed by reducing the number of private cars, particularly those with single occupancy, crossing the bridge at peak times. A total of 21 options, to achieve this were considered. These mostly fell into three categories – bus, rail, park and ride/stride, although reinstatement of tolls and ferries were also included.
When the options were evaluated, as well as the aim of reducing peak time traffic, the consultants also considered practicality, value for money and opportunities for making longer-term improvements.
Why will speed limits be imposed?
A maximum speed limit of 30mph will be in place along the length of the bridge. This will protect bridge users and contractors working on the site. The speed limit will also reduce delays as lower speeds have been shown to result in less damage to the marker posts. This means less temporary lane closures while TRBJB staff make good the marker posts. Enabling works have been undertaken to remove kerbing at the access/egress points to the carriageways to slightly improve carriageway width.
What do you do to stop suicides?
The public will be aware that, from time to time, incidents involving people in distress unfortunately take place on the Tay Road Bridge.
Bridge management takes this issue extremely seriously, and a number of measures are in place to support vulnerable members of the public. Fortunately very few incidents end in tragedy, and most people in crisis are quickly and safely supported by the appropriate agencies.
However, every situation is different, and sometimes longer bridge closures are required to ensure that a vulnerable person gets the help they need.
We are, of course, conscious that closures also have an impact on bridge users and other traffic. This Q&A has been created to help broaden understanding of the issues involved and the work that the bridge team does with its partners to minimise disruption while providing support to people in distress.
We have a state-of-the-art CCTV system monitoring the bridge 24-hours-a-day, every single day of the year for the purposes of public safety. This allows our experienced Control Room Supervisors to monitor all bridge users and take appropriate action quickly.
Our staff are all trained to speak with vulnerable persons, and have undergone accredited Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST). This means our staff have the confidence to help those at risk whilst keeping all other bridge users safe.
We also have a direct line to the Police Scotland control room and work closely with other agencies, including all the emergency services, to attend quickly and safely to all emergencies on the bridge.
Why do you have to close both carriageways of the bridge during incidents involving vulnerable people?
There are a number of reasons for this. One of our primary concerns is ensuring the safety of both the person in distress and members of our staff or partner agencies, including emergency services, who are providing support to people on the bridge.
We also have to be aware of the potential for collisions should drivers be distracted by an ongoing incident. Another important consideration is road noise – we must ensure that a person in distress can hear, and be heard by, those providing support during what could be a life or death conversation.
Why don’t you put up barriers along the bridge?
We have looked into this, as we have with an exhaustive range of suicide prevention measures, but unfortunately the 1960s construction of the bridge means this is not practical.
The bridge deck cantilevers, while safely supporting the weight of traffic, would be unable to take the additional load of barriers, with the strain that the wind would create on them.
Couldn’t you put up a net at the edge of the bridge?
This has been thoroughly investigated, but unfortunately rescue of persons from a net would be very difficult and risky and it would likely have some structural implications on the safety of the bridge. It would likely be difficult to maintain the net safely, particularly in winter months and in high winds.
We continue to look at other locations for measures which are effective and could be adapted to the specific requirements of the Tay Road Bridge.
Why aren’t the walkway railings higher?
Unfortunately this would not be an effective deterrent. We are aware that not everyone who goes onto the bridge uses the central walkway as a point of access. Also, if we need to attend to a medical emergency with a pedestrian or cyclist on the walkway then access must be achievable by the Emergency Services.
Have you looked into signs with “inspirational messages”?
When signs on the bridge appear our staff must check them all to make sure that no one is put at increased risk by what any messages might say or how they might be interpreted. It is for this reason that we always ask that people don’t install any signs or messages. Signs can also pose a distraction or are at risk of being blown onto other bridge users which might cause an accident.
It would be beneficial for any group or individual interested in this type of project to do so through service user/support groups who are able to support this in the safest way. Dundee Voluntary Action and Dundee Association for Mental Health (DAMH) could help with this.
We already have fixed signage to signpost to The Samaritans for help, and we recognise that other agencies are also available to help in a crisis. The Samaritans in Dundee can be contacted on 01382 832555, or for free on 116 123. Breathing Space can be contacted on 0800 838587, or NHS 24 on 111.
What are the dimensions and capacity of the bridge's passenger lift?
The width of the door when open (and the lift inside) is 1.2m wide. The length of the lift internally is 2.5m. The weight capacity is 1500kg.