Preliminary design work starts for new Black Isle bridge
Funding is in place, a topographical survey has been done and now preliminary design work has started for a replacement road bridge on the Black Isle after the original structure was damaged beyond repair during storms in January.
Newhall Bridge, close to Balblair on the B9163 Findon - Cromarty road was very seriously damaged by a falling tree on 9th January and had to close to traffic. The B9163 runs along the north side of the Black Isle, linking the A9 to Cromarty and other communities including Cullicudden, Resolis, Balblair, and Jemimaville therefore the immediate bridge closure severed the main link between these communities.
Following an inspection by the Council’s structural engineers that showed the bridge to be beyond economic repair, it became clear that a permanent replacement would be needed. Due to the length of time to construct a permanent crossing, the area roads team made plans to install a temporary bridge which opened to traffic on 6 February and is still in use today.
At its meeting on 12 March The Highland Council approved funding of £400,000 in 2015/16 to allow work on replacing the bridge to begin. Earlier this week, Councillors were given an update during the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, confirming that river flow analysis and a topographical survey were now complete and preliminary design work has begun.
Local Councillor, Craig Fraser said: “I’d like to thank everyone in the communities affected for their co-operation while work to find the best cost effective long term solution for this highly used junction has taken place. Behind the scenes, a lot has been done by council staff since the storm struck and while there is still a considerable amount of work to be done, I am sure everyone will be pleased to know funding for a new bridge has been confirmed and preliminary design work has begun. We will be keeping communities up-dated on plans and will be looking to get their input as the project progresses.”