The Forth Road Bridge in east-central Scotland will undergo major renovation work to replace the main expansion joints over the next year.

Built over the River Forth, the bridge’s east footpath will be closed to the public from 12 November until late January next year as work begins to replace the joints. Pedestrians and cyclists have been asked to use the west footpath instead.

Work to replace the larger joints on the main carriageway is scheduled to start in late-January. Vehicular traffic on the bridge will be limited to a single lane in each direction for most of next year while the work is being undertaken.

Upon completion, joints in the west footpath will then be replaced.

Forth Estuary Transport Authority had initially planned to replace the bridge’s main expansion joints in 2009, but postponed the work when the Scottish Government announced its programme for construction of the Queensferry Crossing.

Failsafe devices were installed to ensure safety, while improved maintenance access for monitoring and inspection will also be implemented until the joints are replaced.

“The main expansion joints have exceeded their design life and are overdue for replacement.”

Contractor American Bridge International will complete the works, while Forth Bridges operating company Amey will manage and monitor the project on behalf of Transport Scotland.

Amey noted that the opening of the Queensferry Crossing has cut the cost of the works to £5.9m, less than half of the original £13.7m tendered in 2008.

Amey Forth Bridges Unit account director Mark Arndt said: “The main expansion joints have exceeded their design life and are overdue for replacement, however we’ve been monitoring them closely over the years to ensure the continuing safety of bridge users and we’re now ready to replace them without any disruption to traffic.

“The new joints have been manufactured in Ayrshire and Sheffield, using a similar overall design to the originals, but with improved materials and enhanced details.”