Big Plans for Bridge’s 50th Birthday
Published on 26 Oct 2012
The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) has approved plans to hold a ten-day festival to mark the Forth Road Bridge’s 50th birthday in September 2014.
The proposed “Celebration of the Bridges” 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 2,014 members of the public to climb to the top of the bridge’s 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.
It is intended that the fireworks will be free to attend, with costs met by a combination of ticket sales for other events, corporate sponsorship and public funding. Organisers hope to promote the celebrations 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 local 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.
Transport & Veterans 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.”
Malcolm Brown, Chair of Queensferry Ambition said, “The ten days of celebrations being organised by FETA and Queensferry Ambition will bring a real focus not only to the Bridge but also to the business and general communities surrounding the bridges. An imaginative programme of activities has been created that will appeal to every age group; the local communities and visitors to the area. We are delighted to be involved in this very special birthday event.”
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "For the past half a century, the Forth Road Bridge has been an invaluable transport link connecting Edinburgh and the Lothians with the Kingdom of Fife. With approximately two million vehicles crossing it every month for business or leisure, the Bridge is a key economic driver, bringing investment to both sides of the Firth of Forth.
“It's fitting that this iconic link will enjoy a wide and varied programme of events to mark its 50th birthday and we look forward to working with our partners to deliver these exciting celebrations in 2014."
Linda Temple, Fife Council’s Events Strategy and Homecoming 2014 Co-ordinator, 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 EventScotland’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.
Facts & Figures
- High winds - Bridge closed to double deck buses (06:32 BST 17/04/14)