Glen residents and Council Leader officially open Muchrachd Bridge.
The new Muchrachd Bridge crossing the River Cannich was built by McGregor Construction (Highlands) Ltd in conjunction with their bridge supplier Retro Bridge and Acrow Bridges. It comprises a 120 tonne, 52 metre single span structure, allowing unrestricted traffic to cross the river. The works also include realignment of the road and improvements to the adjacent Forestry Commission Scotland access road.
Leader of The Highland Council, Councillor Drew Hendry who is also a Councillor for Aird and Loch Ness Ward said: “Its vital works like these that keep rural Highlands connected. Highland Council staff and the contractor have got to be congratulated for their efforts and the work that they have put in to bring this project in, not only on budget but also on schedule. The bridge is a fantastic replacement and will allow the community to be able to work effectively for many years to come.”
Donald Fraser who has been a resident of Glen Cannich for over 60 years said: “The new bridge will make life a lot easier. When the weight restrictions were in place, any large vehicles such as tractors and fuel lorries had to cross the river using the ford and this made life very difficult for us - especially when the river level rose during high rains. We can now get cattle feed and fuel across the bridge with ease. The last bridge lasted over 50 years; hopefully this one will have an even longer life span.”
The Muchrachd Bridge replacement project was designed and supervised by The Highland Council’s Transport, Environmental and Community Services, Structures Services Team.
Highland Council’s Project Manager and Resident Engineer Ewen MacPherson explained: “The earlier Bailey Bridge which was failing was originally associated with the construction of the hydro dam. After emergency repairs in 2010, in September 2012 we had to impose a 3 tonne weight limit on the old bridge to enable more emergency repairs to be carried out in October 2012. Following this, the council took the decision to replace the bridge and appointed contractors McGregor Construction (Highlands) Ltd with construction commencing late summer 2013. We are very pleased with the new bridge and the progress and quality of the contract – which has been unhindered with the mild weather that we have had this winter.”
As well as being a life-line route for the residents of Glen Cannich, the bridge is also a vital link for Scottish and Southern Energy access to Mullardoch Dam at the head of the glen.
Ewan Ross, Contracts Manager for McGregor Construction said: “We are delighted as a local Highland company to have successfully undertaken this rural Highland contract. We are very pleased with the bridge replacement which went very well on site. The contract was on time, and the end result looks great.”
Liam Matheson, Forestry Commission Scotland added: “As landowners to the south of the river Cannich at Muchrachd Bridge we assisted by providing space to enable the contractors to work in and prepare the area for the bridge installation. We also provided an alternative route to enable fording of the river while the works were on-going. As good neighbours, Forestry Commission Scotland was delighted to help maintain public access within the local area.”