Motorists are being warned to expect long delays as the Queensferry Crossing reopens to traffic following several days of celebratory events.

The new £1.35 billion bridge across the Firth of Forth will re-open to vehicles overnight into Thursday, ahead of the morning rush hour.

The Queensferry Crossing opened to traffic on August 30 but was closed for celebrations between September 1 and 6, with vehicles using the Forth Road Bridge.

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Motorists were hit by long delays on the opening day last week as sightseers flocked to drive over the structure, and transport chiefs expect a repeat of the problems on Thursday.

Traffic Scotland operator manager Stein Connelly said: "Demand for using the Queensferry Crossing when it first opened last week was very high. People were understandably coming to see the new bridge and this did lead to congestion.

"With the crossing reopening tomorrow we would urge road users to plan their journeys. Traffic is likely to be very heavy and long delays are possible.

"If you are commuting, check Traffic Scotland on Twitter for the latest information before you leave and if you are coming to the area to visit the bridge, we would ask that you do so when traffic is lighter.

"We have seen tremendous levels of interest in the crossing and we really appreciate people's patience as the new arrangements bed-in."

The Queen officially opened the bridge on Monday, a high point in a series of events marking the opening of the structure - the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world.

On Monday of last week, the 1.7-mile crossing was illuminated by a night-time light show to reflect the symbolic handover from contractors to the Scottish Government.

The first cars drove over the structure in the early hours of August 30 and it closed again on Friday to allow 50,000 people the ''once-in-a-lifetime'' chance to walk over it at the weekend.

A 40mph speed limit will be in place on the approach roads and over the bridge.

The Forth Road Bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists as work continues to make the final connections to the new network.

Later in the year the Queensferry Crossing will become a motorway and the Forth Road Bridge will become a public transport corridor.

Inspector Peter Houston of Police Scotland's roads policing unit said: "Following last week's successful opening of the Queensferry Crossing, we are supporting Transport Scotland to ensure that the crossing reopens in a safe and organised manner on Thursday.

"We do expect there to be long delays as people come to see the new bridge over the coming days. We would advise members of the public who currently cross the Firth of Forth as part of their commute to think about disruptions to their journey and to allow for extra travel time as traffic levels adjust.

"Those who are travelling to the crossing for non-essential journeys are asked to consider very careful the timings of their visit and whether their journey is necessary."

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