Festival to celebrate Forth Road Bridge at 50
Published 29 Oct 2012 15:30 4 Comments
A TEN-DAY festival will be held to mark the Forth Road Bridge's 50th birthday in September 2014.
The event will include a celebration of transport around the bridge, including a flotilla of boats on the Forth, a major fireworks display and the chance for up to 2014 members of the public to climb to the top of the main towers.
A programme of events in the communities north and south of the bridges is also being arranged in partnership with local businesses, including an attempt to set a world record for the largest ever sit-down lunch.
The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) said the fireworks will be free to attend, with costs met by a combination of ticket sales for other events, corporate sponsorship and public funding.
The Forth Road Bridge opened in 1964 and organisers hope to promote the 50th birthday celebrations as part of the 2014 Year of Homecoming.
Transport minister Keith Brown said, "Scotland's Year of Homecoming in 2014 will celebrate throughout the year the very best we have to offer as a country, so it is fitting that one of the most recognisable feats of Scottish engineering will also celebrate its own 50th anniversary then.
"The Forth Road Bridge has provided 25 million vehicles every year with a connection between communities north and south of the Forth estuary whilst acting as a vital link in Scotland's transport network.
"I am delighted to endorse the funding bid which will support preparations to celebrate the Forth Road Bridge's past, present and future.
"I'm sure those events will appeal to visitors from around the world and here in Scotland, and be one of the many highlights in the Homecoming Scotland 2014 calendar."
Feta convener Tony Martin said, "The Forth Road Bridge is not just one of the world's most significant long-span bridges, it is Scotland's largest man-made structure and a symbol of home for many thousands who live nearby and who make the daily commute across it.
"By September 2014 the three towers of the new crossing will have risen from the Forth and, together with the world-famous Forth Bridge, we will have a unique attraction with three major bridges from three different centuries.
"We want to celebrate the Forth Road Bridge reaching its 50th birthday with a programme of events of fitting scale and spectacle to do justice to these iconic structures.
"Feta is delighted to be working in partnership with the local communities on either side of the Forth - together we hope to deliver a really memorable celebration as part of the 2014 Year of Homecoming."
A steering group has been established to oversee preparations, with participation from Feta, Fife Council, City of Edinburgh Council, North Queensferry Heritage Trust and business organisation Queensferry Ambition.
Letters of support and endorsement have also been received from FCBC (the consortium building the new crossing) and from the Forth Bridges Forum, which includes Transport Scotland, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland, Network Rail, City of Edinburgh Council, Fife Council and Feta.
Linda Temple, of Fife Council, said, "Celebrating this iconic structure in its 50th year while looking forward to the opening of the new bridge in 2016, provides an ideal opportunity to engage local people and visitors alike on both sides of the Forth.
"We are supportive of the proposal submitted to Event Scotland's Homecoming 2014 Fund and we look forward to working with the organising group to ensure Fife has the opportunity to benefit from the celebrations".
Further details of the planned celebrations will be announced over the months ahead, with a dedicated website expected to be launched in the New Year.
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 30 Oct 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Oct 31, 01:50
WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY the old boys looking for day out freebies ,Its such a great bridge they have made so many problem and comments over the years NOW WE NEED A SECOND to cope with traffic NOW THE GRAND OLD BRIDGE next door is a different story
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Oct 31, 16:51
What ye blethering about, the bridge is 50 year auld and is carrying 10 times the volume of traffic it was ever designed to, to me thats nae bad going!
Another one is needed as you put it 'to cope with the traffic' so when the other is is totally goosed at least there is one other way of getting across the Forth....
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Oct 31, 19:30
My father worked on the bridge from the very start and was a painter for many years after. He took me and my brother to the top of the towers on a few occasions,what a view!
My family was at the opening and I saw the Queen, I was 9 years old.
I love the bridge and what it represents.
Wonder what the new one will look like?
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Nov 5, 16:46
I have been travelling over the existing bridge on a regular basis for many years now, usually because I'm en route to a holiday or short break destination in the North. To me it always represents the gateway to a new adventure, and I always feel excited as I see it looming large in front of me. I don't really feel as if I'm properly on my way until I drive on to it, and it was the same when I sat in the back of my parents car when I was younger. When I get to the other side, its like there is a whole new world opening up before me.
In contrast, it is always the point the marks the end of my holiday or short break. Once I'm back over it and heading towards Edinburgh, I really feel like I'm back to reality, and I feel sad.
I have mixed feelings about the new bridge. Yes, it is apparently essential, but its also frustrating to think that the existing one has not stood the test of time. When you think of the beautiful feet of engineering alongside it, which with regular maintenance has remained in use for much longer, you really wonder why the road bridge couldn't have been built to last.
I will be interested though to see what the new one looks like though, and I only hope that it IS being built to last!
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