The Forth Road Bridge will not fully reopen to HGV traffic until mid-March, according to Scottish transport minister Derek Mackay.

The bridge, which was closed to all traffic on 4 December but reopened to non-HGV vehicles later that month, was originally set to reopen to HGVs in mid-February.

A phased reintroduction of HGVs, which will allow around 600 to cross the bridge every night, began today (4 February) but Mackay said it will not be fully opened until mid-March.

He said: “90% of traffic returned to the Forth Road Bridge in December and, while we recognise that around 600 HGVs crossing the bridge each night does not get us to 100%, it is a step in the right direction.

“We will continue to explore every option to see if we can increase access as the trial develops.”

The FTA criticised the postponement of the full opening, and said it was "another blow for operators who have already suffered huge financial losses due to the bridge closure."

The trade association added that one of its members had said the bridge remaining closed for the additional four weeks, the extra costs to his business would reach almost £250k.

RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said it was “essential” that the trials “bring a swift conclusion to the repair work that has been undertaken and that the bridge is restored to full capacity as a matter of extreme urgency”.

He also called on the Scottish government to compensate the hauliers affected by the closure, after the trade association estimated that the cost of the closure to the haulage industry had been more than £37m, with each use of the diverted route adding around £30 in fuel costs.

Burnett said: “The financial impact on the thousands of hauliers who are either based in, or making regular journeys to Scotland has been massive.

“The Scottish government must find the funds to compensate those operators who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves out of pocket for several months.”