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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 January 2008, 18:05 GMT
Chaos as Forth Road Bridge closes
Forth Road Bridge
A painting cradle on the south tower was damaged
The Forth Road Bridge was completely closed for more than eight hours after high winds caused damage to a painting cradle on the south tower.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) had to wait for winds to drop to below 30mph so it could send a team up the tower to make the cradle safe.

It closed the bridge at 0940 GMT because of a risk of debris falling onto the carriageway.

The bridge was finally reopened just after 1800 GMT.

Widespread congestion

The nearest alternative route, the Kincardine Bridge, was heavily congested during the day.

The last time the bridge closed to all traffic was Hogmanay 2006/07, when the bridge authority said winds reached 90mph.

The overnight winds have been causing disruption across the region.

The Tay road bridge was also closed for a time because of strong winds.

In Fife, three roads were closed because of fallen trees. On the B937 between Giffordtown and Collessie, a driver crashed into a tree which had been blown over. His injuries are not thought to be serious.

Park rangers have been out since 2200 GMT on Tuesday using chainsaws to clear away branches and trees which have been causing obstructions.

Seven schools and one elderly day care centre have been closed because of a combination of problems caused by the wind and power cuts.

Several roads in Cowdenbeath have been closed after part of the roof of a building blew off. Diversions have been put in place and the fire service is trying to make the rest of the roof safe.

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