Official reopening of Ruthven Bridge celebrated
Members from the local community, Councillors, pupils and the team behind the project to reconstruct Ruthven Bridge on the outskirts of Kingussie met up today to celebrate its official re-opening.
Before the works, the single-track road bridge which spans the River Spey linking the B970 and the communities beyond, to Kingussie and the trunk road network, had a 3 tonne weight limit due to concerns about the deteriorating condition of the bridge deck.
The £622,000 project involved replacing the superstructure of the bridge, built 121 years ago, to ensure it was safe to accept road traffic without weight restrictions for many years to come. During the works the original stone masonry abutments and piers were repaired where necessary to allow for the new superstructure to be installed.
25% of the funding for the project came from Forestry Commission Scotland through the Scottish Timber Transport Scheme with the rest coming from The Highland Council.
Ward Councillor, Gregor Rimell welcomed guests as they gathered today (Friday 6 November) at the bridge and Director of Development and Infrastructure, Stuart Black, gave an outline of the work which was carried out by the contractors Morgan Sindall plc.
After local Councillor Jaci Douglas cut the ribbon, Mr Phillip Somervail, great grandson of original bridge contractor was asked to unveil a plaque which had been refurbished as part of the works, and had commemorated the laying of the foundation stone for the original bridge. Guests were then invited to join a piped procession led by Kingussie High School pupil, Piper Mark Waters, over the bridge.
Speaking on behalf of the local Councillors, Councillor Gregor Rimell thanked the community for their patience and understanding while work was underway. He said: “This was a major undertaking but I hope everyone agrees that the temporary closure while the deck was replaced during the works was worth it. We now have a safe bridge that still retains its original iconic look that will serve the community for many years to come. I would like to thank the contractors and council staff for their great efforts to keep disruptions to a minimum and for locals who have been understanding and patient.
“Finding the time capsule was an added bonus and certainly has generated a lot of interest in the history of the bridge. This is why my fellow ward Councillors and I are especially delighted that Mr Phillip Somervail, great grandson of original bridge contractor was able to join us to do the honours and unveil the plaque today.”