WORK to replace the main expansion joints in the northbound carriageway of the Forth Road Bridge will commence this weekend.

It will start on Sunday, April 4, and is programmed to be complete before next winter.

The bridge will remain open in both directions to buses, taxis, and other vehicles permitted to use the public transport corridor, via a contraflow on the southbound carriageway.

Work to replace smaller joints in the west footpath will continue until May. The east footpath will remain open to cyclists and pedestrians.

Chris Tracey, BEAR Scotland’s South East Unit Bridges Manager, said: “The main expansion joints allow the Forth Road Bridge to expand and contract in response to wind, temperature and traffic loading.

"They performed well since the bridge opened in 1964 but had reached the end of their service life after over 50 years of heavy use.

“Work on the southbound carriageway was completed last year and we learned a great deal from that process. Hidden issues were discovered once we took the joints apart, including details that differed from the original construction drawings.

“Assuming these details are similar on the northbound carriageway, we’re confident we can finish the job before next winter.

“I’m pleased that the Forth Road Bridge will continue to fulfil its function as a public transport corridor throughout these works, with a single lane remaining open in each direction.”

The replacement of the main expansion joints forms part of a significant investment by Transport Scotland to strengthen and refurbish the Forth Road Bridge following decades of heavy use.

Other improvements have included the redesign and replacement of the truss end links, resurfacing of the approach viaducts and upgrading of underdeck maintenance walkways.