KESSOCK WORKS ENTER FINAL PHASE : PUBLIC CAN HELP REDUCE JOURNEY TIMES
Their fantastic efforts during the first phase of the project, when an estimated thousand less cars used the crossing, cut anticipated delays by at least fifteen minutes and it is hoped that a similar result can be achieved this time round.
Work will start on the bridge, which is managed by BEAR Scotland, on February 10 with cones being placed on the road two days before. The contractor, Balfour Beatty, is expected to complete the project by the end of June, ahead of the peak tourism season.
The twenty week programme will result in the completion of the huge refurbishment of the 1,052 m long structure.
Lessons have been learned from the first phase of works and every effort is being made to keep journey times down. However, the bridge will be reduced from four to two-lanes with contraflow operation and potential delays of an hour are being forecast at the start and end of the working day. Road users can help reduce this by planning their journeys in advance, to use public transport where possible or to make their way to work outside peak times.
Transport Scotland is doing all it can to help. We have again arranged for extra capacity on public transport as well as additional parking at Ross County Stadium in Dingwall and at Beauly train station. We would encourage the traveling public to think about using the train or consider car sharing, cycling or walking to help ease congestion.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said:
“The upgraded Kessock Bridge will give the people of Inverness a state of the art crossing when it is completed in a few months’ time and we are asking people to bear with us until then.
“We know the new bridge improvements will be worth the wait and the materials and techniques that we are using mean that the crossing will remain free of major repairs for the next thirty years.
“A real effort was made by all to keep delays to a minimum during the first phase of the refurbishment and almost a thousand less cars used the bridge at peak times. This cut the forecast delays of an hour by fifteen minutes. We would hope to see a similar trend this time round and we would urge bridge users to use public transport where possible.
“They should also plan their journeys by using the Traffic Scotland website or by checking Twitter @trafficscotland.
“We expect this significant investment by Transport Scotland will bring immediate improvements, such as reduced journey times, but will also allow goods and services to travel through Inverness for years to come.”
Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s Operating Company Representative for the North West said:
“As a lifeline route, which carries the A9 dual carriageway trunk road across the Beauly Firth at Inverness, we are absolutely committed to minimising the disruption when these essential improvements are being made to the Kessock Bridge.
“Following the first phase last year, motorists are aware of what a complex project this is and understand the long term benefits the works will bring. The public were extremely patient during that time and we hope for their continued support as we go into phase two.
“A reduced speed limit of 30mph will be in place from February 10 to keep both road users and workers safe. This will lead to delays, and as with phase one, motorists will be encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel into the city centre and to consider using public transport, car sharing, cycling or walking, where possible.”
Highland Council, the biggest employer in the Highlands, has been encouraging the hundreds of its staff who cross the bridge daily to consider options such as car-sharing, cycling, using the improved public transport services that are being provided, or adapting their working arrangements.
The council leader, Councillor Drew Hendry, said:
“We welcome the major investment being made by the Scottish Government in maintaining the Kessock Bridge, which is such an important transport link in the Highlands. The opening of Conon Bridge railway station and improved public transport has persuaded many more people to use public transport instead of their car on a daily basis. This has been a welcome spin-off benefit.
“With 900 staff crossing the bridge daily en route to work, we can make a difference in relieving pressure on the bridge, especially at peak times. We are encouraging staff to consider public transport, lift-sharing or working from home or at an office near to their home that does not require crossing the bridge. We are extending our flexitime hours at the start and end of the day. All this should help to keep traffic moving and minimise disruption to business life and the delivery of key council services.”
Andrew Gordon, Balfour Beatty’s Director of Operations for the Kessock Bridge refurbishment, said:
“We are looking forward to working again with Transport Scotland and BEAR on this strategic element of the A9 trunk road. The planned refurbishment work is essential for the preservation of the bridge and to ensure that it will serve the communities of the Highlands into the future.
“We realise the works are inconvenient. However, the impact on traffic last year was minimised due to the exceptional cooperation of the travelling public who took all possible measures to reduce individual car journeys. We would ask people to make the same alternative travel arrangements this year and thank them in advance for their patience.”
Contact Karen MacKinnon: 0141 272 7138/ 07837061084 or firstname.lastname@example.org