Tam was ringing my phone, maybe he had another bag of 20 oz sirloin steaks ? I better answer I thought ! 😀 😀 ….. Hey Mark fancy climbing to the top of the Forth Road bridge he says … , Sounds good I said !!
In a hatch we went and the three of us were soon having to shoe horn ourselves into a tiny service elevator, Davie from Amey explained that it had a load of 435kg for equipment so it could easily handle our weight but it wasn’t built for 3 burly fellows like us …. He wasn’t joking !! I’m pretty sure Tam had a semi but I just can’t bear to think about it ! 😀 Thankfully the doors closed and it was all over quickly as we shot quickly for the sky !
Up we went until it stopped and we fell out into a tiny chamber , from here we had to climb a long, very long 90 degree ladder to the top , strenuous work but eventually we reached the top hatch and daylight poured in as we opened it to reveal the clouds above !
We exited out the hatch up onto the bridge and what a view !! WOW WOW WOW !! we were looking down on Edinburgh, Fife , North and South Queensferry , all the surrounding area and best of all the other two bridges , the classic Rail Bridge and the New bridge which is rapidly approaching completion. Tam and I felt like we were eye to eye with the crane drivers working over it. Watching the traffic, both cars and boats was mesmerizing and the shuddering and shaking every time a lorry crossed under us was a little unnerving ! We could also see the HMS Queen Elizabeth the huge aircraft carrier being built further up the Forth. That was one HUGE ship !
Next stop , the very top! Davie was happy we could handle it so we headed up the final ladder to the birds nest , the pinnacle of the main towers and where the aircraft beacons were flashing. We were flying high today , more than 500 feet above the Forth to be exact.
We hung around up top taking in the view and listening to Davie telling us all about his experiences with the bridge for an hour but all too soon it was time to go head back down. I was in luck Tam’s semi had subsided and it was safe to grab the lift back down to the road but Davie had another surprise awaiting us, a visit to underneath the bridge !
Under the bridge was scarier than above it , with only a course gauge wire walkway between us and a 180 foot drop straight down to the Forth, it was airy scary !! and every time a car shot over our heads it shook and roared !! Fantastic !!
Massive thanks to Davie from Amey Highways for the tour from Tam and I, we had the greatest day above and below the bridge.
Facts and figures courtesy of Forth Road Bridge
The Forth Road Bridge is a long span suspension bridge which when opened in 1964 was the largest in the world outside the United States and, together with the approach viaducts is a little over 2.5 km in length.
The bridge has a main span of 1006 metres between the two main towers. The side spans which carry the deck to the side towers are each 408 metres long. The approach viaducts are 252 metres and 438 metres long on the north and south sides respectively.
The two main aerially spun cables from which the suspended deck is hung are 590 mm in diameter, and each is made up of 11,618 high tensile wires with a 4.98 mm diameter. The suspended deck is made up of a steel stiffening truss, with three longitudinal air gaps at roadway level to improve aerodynamic stability.
The main cables are anchored at each end to take the 13,800 tonnes of total load in each cable. These anchorages are concrete, cast in tunnels of tapering section, cut into rock at an inclination of 30º to the horizontal. The tunnel lengths vary between 56 and 79 metres.
The suspended span decks are hung from the main cables by 192 sets of four hanger ropes with diameters of 44.5 and 52.4 mm. These hanger sets take loads of 176 and 224 tonnes. Between 1998 and 2000 all these hanger sets were replaced without interruption to traffic.