Necessary closure of Infirmary Bridge, Inverness during major events

The Highland Council is assuring members of the public that continued everyday normal pedestrian use of Infirmary Bridge in Inverness is safe.

This assurance comes while the Council regrettably takes the decision to close the bridge after the Simple Minds / Pretenders / KT Tunstall Concert being held at Northern Meeting Park on Saturday 8 September from 10pm to 12 midnight. The nearest alternative crossing of the river will be signposted via Ness Bridge. Pedestrians should note that the footbridge to the Ness Islands remains closed during repair works.

This decision has been made on the grounds of health and safety following a review by the local Multi-Agency Safety Advisory Group for major events. All future major events being held in the Northern Meeting Park and the Bught will be considered on a case by case basis as to whether Infirmary Bridge requires closure to the public.

The timing of any future closures will be announced on an event-by-event basis after consideration is given to the anticipated numbers that are expected to attend.

Colin Howell, Highland Council’s, Head of Infrastructure said:

“Highland Council apologises for any future inconvenience that this may cause but confirm that this stance has not been taken lightly and is being taken on the grounds of public health and safety.

“The Council has a duty to protect both the public from potential harm and to protect Infirmary Bridge from being subjected to unnecessary loads, which it was not designed to accommodate when opened in 1881.

“The Council regularly inspects and monitors bridges and we must stress that while this temporary closure decision has been taken for major events - that Infirmary Bridge is still safe to use during normal periods when foot traffic is normally infrequent and sporadic.”

The 137 year old Category B listed bridge spans the River Ness between Ness Bank and Ness Walk, next to the Royal Northern Infirmary. Large numbers of people crossing the bridge cause swaying and excessive movement of the structure.

Stewarding of the bridge during major events in the past has been attempted; however, this causes delay and frustration for pedestrians having to wait in long queues to cross, often in late evening, and is neither effective nor a sustainable solution for crowd control and for the publics’ health and safety.

David Haas, Inverness City Area Manager said:

“Highland Council has a responsibility to manage the arrival and departure of many thousands of people from our City Events and Festivals sites in a very short period safely.  We ask everyone attending future events to follow the yellow directional signs - that will be erected to get to and from Northern Meeting Park and Bught Park and the city centre on foot.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused and hope that these measures will ensure that everybody can continue to enjoy their visits to events in the usual way. We hope that everybody understands the reasons for the introduction of the temporary bridge closures; and that the Council will continue to make the safety of the public our priority at all times.”

5 Sep 2018
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