The Forth Road Bridge (FRB) is to shut until the New Year for repairs following the discovery of defective steelwork.
Following a meeting of the Scottish Government Resilience Committee (SGoRR), chaired by the First Minister, the decision to close has been taken after inspections carried out by specialist engineers and following advice and assessment of the fault by independent experts.
Work is already under way to repair the FRB and this will be done as quickly as possible with a view that it will be reopened to traffic to allow it to be used for the return to work in January.
Additional rail capacity was put on overnight and a full travel plan is being prepared for the duration of the closure.
This will include further additional rail services. All other options are being explored including a dedicated bus corridor with park and ride facilities and passenger ferry services across the Forth.
SGoRR will continue to meet over the weekend and further updates will be provided and a dedicated webpage for travel information will be created.
In the meantime, people are being urged to carefully consider their travel plans and whether journeys are necessary and to check conditions before they set out and look at options like car-sharing and public transport alternatives.
Emergency vehicles will still be able to use the FRB in bluelight situations.
Transport Minister Derek MacKay said: “The decision to close the Forth Road Bridge is not taken lightly. It is based on the expert opinion of the engineers who operate the bridge day to day and that of independent experts in the field.
“Every effort is being made to open the bridge as quickly as possible but safety is the main priority, however these works are weather dependent given the height and location of the bridge. We are aware of the potential economic impact, for strategic traffic in the east of Scotland and on people living in local communities.”