The Forth Road Bridge will reopen to all vehicles at 11pm this Saturday (20 February) after being closed to HGV traffic for more than two months.

The bridge was closed on 4 December when a crack in its steelwork was discovered, but reopened to all traffic except HGVs on 23 December.

It was speculated that the bridge might not reopen to HGVs until next month. However, the statement announcing reopening on the bridge's website said that “favourable weather conditions” over the past two weeks had “provided a welcome relief to the storms during January”, allowing the team to finish the engineering work ahead of schedule.

Earlier this month the bridge began a phasing-in of HGV traffic, allowing a select number of vehicles to cross the structure during the night.

The reopening negates the extension of the relaxation on drivers’ hours rules that was announced earlier this week.

The relaxation was extended until 24 March to help drivers cope with the 30 mile diversion, but a spokesman for the DfT told that it will cease when the bridge reopens.

The RHA welcomed the news of the reopening. Martin Reid, the trade association’s director for Scotland, said: “The return to normal tomorrow is a huge relief for all concerned. All too often we take our core road infrastructure for granted and that cannot be allowed to happen in future.”

Scotland’s transport minister Derek Mackay said: “I know that this is something that will be welcomed by the tens of thousands of drivers who use the bridge on a daily basis, especially the heavy goods vehicle drivers who have had to observe restricted crossing times in the past few weeks.

“I would like to thank them for their patience during this time and stress again that safety and the long-term integrity of the bridge had to be our main considerations.  We did all we could to assist the HGV community on an operational level and they have shown great forbearance.”