Am Bratach No. 238
August 2011

Bridge closure means cash for local community

A £1.2 million Kyle of Tongue Bridge refurbishment, presently being undertaken by a structural repair and refurbishment contractor on behalf of Highland Council, could mean the closure of the bridge for a limited period and a payment made into a public fund to compensate for the inconvenience caused.

A spokesman for the council said: “Highland Council’s contractor, CRL, is progressing well with major works to renovate the A838 Kyle of Tongue Bridge. The work is being carried out under traffic signal control, and alternate single-way movement of traffic.

“A critical part of the work is renewal of the bridge deck waterproofing system. The system is spray-applied and weather sensitive. In order to minimise the time required to apply the system, the contractor has proposed a temporary full closure of the A838 road. Although this would mean short term inconvenience to the travelling public, it would have the beneficial effect of saving a significant period (possibly several weeks) of single way traffic operation at the site.

“In recognition of the forbearance and co-operation of the local community in the Tongue area, CRL has offered to make a significant financial contribution to a local community initiative, and proposes to engage the local transport initiative ‘Transport for Tongue’, to provide a shuttle service to and from the bridge, for those prepared to drive to either end and walk across. Highland Council’s TECS Service has welcomed CRL’s initiative, and the council’s works supervision staff at the site will work with the contractor to achieve a safe and reliable operation of the proposals.”

The closure is planned for a 48-hour period to begin whenever the weather is suitable in the period between 9.00am on Monday, August 8, and 10.00pm on Friday, August 12. As an alternative motorists can drive round the Kyle by Kinloch Lodge, which adds about seven miles to the journey. The causeway part of the crossing is not the subject of works at present.

The spokesman added that part of the bridge renovation scheme will be the complete replacement of the bridge parapets with a new metal parapet, manufactured and installed to current containment standards for this council “A” road. The requirement for parapets on this type of all-purpose “A” road is to withstand impact from a vehicle of weight of 1.5 tonnes, travelling at 50mph, at an angle of impact of 20 degrees.

On the morning of February 2 last year, well known Skerray plumbing and heating engineer, David Bowes, 46, tragically met his death when his pick-up left the road and broke through the seaward parapet of the bridge. A fatal accident enquiry, held at Dornoch Sheriff Court, was adjourned in June. It is due to resume for written submissions this month.

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