ICE monitors for the Queensferry Crossing will be in place in time for next winter.

That's the latest from Transport Scotland, who met Dunfermline MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville following the forced closure of the Queensferry Crossing earlier this month due to falling ice hitting eight vehicles.

The Scottish Government said previously there were plans in place to fit ice sensors on the £1.3 billion bridge but it's the first time a deadline of when this will will be completed has been given.

Current procedures are reliant on the manual use of binoculars and when ice forms, it falls after 15 minutes.

The bridge that would supposedly never close was shut for nearly two days from the evening of February 10 until the morning of February 12.

The government came under fire for failing to take sufficient action over the issue after three vehicles were also struck by falling ice last March.

Ms Somerville was also told that Transport Scotland were investigating how or if the Forth Road Bridge could be used in an emergency so drivers do not have to to take a 35-mile detour via the Kincardine Bridge.

She said: "I have met with Transport Scotland and Queensferry Crossing contractors and operators to discuss the closure due to ice falls.

"The ice forms and falls in 15 minutes.

"Work is under way to risk-assess when closure decisions will take place in the future as public safety is paramount.

"Ice monitors will be in place for next winter.

"Attention is also turning to finding a viable solution to prevent the problem from happening in future but aerodynamics and loading implications need to be looked at to see what will work on this bridge.

"Circumstances are different on each bridge and other solutions which have been used on other bridges may not work here.

"Some have already been ruled out.

"If the bridge does need to close, then Transport Scotland are investigating if/how the Forth Road Bridge can be used.

"This is now being seriously considered for future years."

A five-point plan has now been put in place by bridge operators which will be activated when weather forecasts flag up certain parameters in wind speed/direction, air temperature, dew point, humidity and surface temperature.

MSPs were also told last week that it would take time to find a permanent solution to prevent ice from building up on the Queensferry Crossing.

Mark Arndt, from the Amey Forth Bridge Operating Company, told the rural economy and connectivity committee work was being carried out to discover “permanent viable solutions” to the problem but it would take time through "research and development".