IT used to take six hours to divert traffic from the Queensferry Crossing onto an alternative route - now they can do it in 19 minutes. 

An enhanced system was successfully trialled at the weekend, significantly reducing the time it takes to direct traffic onto the Forth Road Bridge.

The new automated moveable barriers have been upgraded in recent weeks to speed up their deployment with ‘intelligent road studs’ lighting up to guide motorists onto the diversion route.

David Bishop, BEAR Scotland’s south east unit bridges manager, said: “This new system makes diverting traffic via the Forth Road Bridge faster and safer, if the Queensferry Crossing needs to close for any reason."

Traffic on the M90 was stopped at gantries north and south of the Queensferry Crossing just after midnight in the early hours of Sunday.

The diversion over the Forth Road Bridge was then opened to traffic within 19 minutes - this compares to 38 minutes in a previous trial before the system was upgraded.

And it's a dramatic improvement on the six-hour long process to divert traffic before the automated barriers were installed.

READ MORE: 'Pothole next to Tesco store shredded my car's tyre'

Mr Bishop said: “The trial on Sunday morning was a success, with all systems working as intended.

"The intelligent road studs have reduced the need to lay out large numbers of cones and the upgraded control system has reduced the time it takes to deploy the barriers.

“We’re now reviewing where further improvements could be made and will seek to fine tune the process again in future trials.

“We’re grateful to road users and the local community for their patience and understanding while these improvements were completed.”

The new system has also improved safety by eliminating the need for long diversions that cause congestion through Kincardine and reducing the number of operatives required to work on foot near live traffic.

BEAR Scotland is leading this project as part of its responsibility for the south east trunk road network on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Tarmac was responsible for the surfacing; Clearview Intelligence was responsible for the installation of the new intelligent road studs and SPIE for the upgrade of the automated barrier system.