Road closure will speed bridge works

HIGHLAND COUNCIL’s contractor, CRL, is progressing well with major works to renovate the A838 Kyle of Tongue Bridge.
The work, costing £1.2 million, is being carried out under temporary traffic signal control, and alternate single-way movement of traffic.
A critical part of the work is renewal of the bridge deck waterproofing system. The system is spray-applied and weather sensitive. In order to minimise the time required for application of the system, the contractor has proposed a temporary full closure of the A838 road, at the bridge. Although this would mean short term inconvenience to the travelling public, it would have the beneficial effect of saving a significant period (possibly several weeks) of single-way traffic operation at the site.
The 30-week contract, which began in May, was due to have continued until the end of November. However, the planned temporary closure of the bridge and diversion of traffic, with some other refinements, will bring expected completion forward to early October; a huge benefit.
In recognition of the forbearance and co-operation of the local community in the Tongue and Melness areas, CRL has offered to make a significant financial contribution to a local community initiative, and proposes to engage the local transport initiative "Transport for Tongue", to provide a shuttle service to and from the bridge, for local residents prepared to drive to either end of the bridge and walk across.
The Highland Council's Transport Environmental and Community Service has welcomed CRL's initiative, and the Council's works supervision staff at the site will work with the contractor to achieve a safe and reliable operation of the proposals.
The temporary closure of the road is programmed to be for 48 hours duration, to commence whenever a weather “window” is suitable, in the period between 9 am on Monday 8 August, and 10 pm on Friday 12 August.
Widespread local consultation on the proposal has taken place.
There is a local diversion route available for all but HGV articulated vehicles, via Kinloch, around the head of the Kyle of Tongue, on the single-track U1631 road, presenting an additional journey length of some nine miles during the period of bridge closure. A convoy system will be in place if required to escort larger vehicles during the daytime. Also, a diversion route for larger vehicles will be signposted via Shinness and Laxford Bridge, as a contingency measure.