Peak Time Restrictions Removed from Kessock Bridge
Peak time restrictions are being lifted on the Kessock Bridge on Saturday 29th June, reopening all lanes to traffic during the day, as the first phase of the £13.2 million upgrade draws to a close.
Balfour Beatty will continue work on the bridge during off peak hours and at night. This work will last up to 2 weeks starting on Sunday 30th June and the northbound footpath will be closed as a result. The pedestrian and cycle diversion already in place will remain. A 30 mph speed restriction to protect the workforce will also remain on the bridge until these works are complete.
The final layer of the new state of the art Gussasphalt road surface was laid on Friday 14th June in one continuous 1 km operation by specialist contractors. The equipment being used was brought in from Switzerland and this is the first time it has been used in Scotland.
The innovative approach, which has been a feature of the project, will result on both short and long-term gains for the local community with the highly durable materials expected to keep the Bridge free of major repairs for thirty years.
Motorists and businesses users can look forward to faster access in and out of Inverness thanks to improvements at the Longman Roundabout. Road users should note that the traffic signals will be adjusted over the next two weeks to make sure they are delivering the maximum benefit possible. Some traffic signs and road markings will also be changed.
It is estimated that a thousand less cars crossed the bridge during peak times each day, contributing to a reduction in delays during the works.
A Transport Scotland spokesman said:
“The upgraded Kessock Bridge will give the people of Inverness a state of the art crossing when it is complete and we would like to thank road users, local businesses and the community for their patience during the first stage of the refurbishment.
“Everyone has made a real effort and pulled together to make sure that traffic delays were kept to a minimum to allow these essential works to take place.
“This significant investment in the latest resurfacing technology 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.
“Walkers and cyclists will also benefit from the use of the newly refurbished northbound footpath. This is being resurfaced and safety barriers being improved.”
The Highland Council Leader Drew Hendry has also thanked the travelling public and the Council’s 10,000 strong workforce for helping minimise disruption on the Kessock Bridge during the resurfacing works over the past four months.
Councillor Hendry said:
“Thanks to everyone’s efforts in changing their work and travel patterns the level of disruption has been significantly reduced. The reduction in 1,000 cars crossing the bridge at peak times has made a real difference.
"I am sure that many people will have learned very valuable lessons ahead of next year’s second and final phase of resurfacing and indeed many may make their alternative arrangements permanent.
“I am looking forward to reduced travel times once we resume full use of the bridge and the benefits of the measures taken around the bridge to improve traffic movement. The short term pain will be more than compensated for by the long-term gain. The investment by the Scottish Government in this vital link is greatly appreciated.”
George Hood, Managing Director for Balfour Beatty North Scotland, said:
“Commuters and the local community have been extremely patient about this year’s works and we would once again like to thank them for their cooperation. We are satisfied with the work completed on the northbound carriageway as the surfacing material we have used is a specialist system particularly suited to steel suspension bridges. We will draw on all the experience we have gained in this first phase to carry out the resurfacing of the southbound carriageway next year.”
Eddie Ross, spokesperson for BEAR Scotland, said:
“The first phase of works to bring the Kessock Bridge up to modern standards is progressing well, with peak time restrictions finishing this weekend. The contractor, Balfour Beatty, and BEAR Scotland’s supervisory team have been working tirelessly.
“We would like to thank motorists for their patience while the works have been underway.”
Planned bridge repairs will take place over the next few months. This work will be carried out during off peak hours with minimum disruption to the travelling public.
Phase 2 of the contract to repair and resurface the southbound deck and carriageway will start in February 2014, for 20 weeks.
Motorists driving in and around Inverness can access up to the minute journey time information at www.trafficscotland.org. Further journey planning information is also available on Twitter and via the Traveline Scotland/Transport Scotland travel app.
The Kessock Bridge opened to traffic in 1982 and carries approximately 30,000 vehicles per day with 11% of these HGVs.
The works involve removing the existing road surface, repairing defects to the bridge steel deck plate, applying waterproofing to the bridge steel deck plate and resurfacing both carriageways. Contractors are also replacing the bridge deck expansion joints, the lighting columns, the vehicle safety barriers and resurfacing the footways and cycle-ways. This work is being carried out in two phase with the second phase programmed to start in February 2014.