New Invercoe Bridge officially opened as Highlands allocates further £7.7m roads budget

New Invercoe Bridge officially opened as Highlands allocates further £7.7m roads budget

The Highland Council has marked the official opening of Invercoe Bridge in Lochaber.

Council convener Cllr Bill Lobban formally opened the bridge last week with pupils from Glencoe Primary School and Kinlochleven High School and Economy and Infrastructure Committee chair, Cllr Ken Gowans.

Invercoe Bridge has undergone a complete bridge replacement as part of the Scottish Government’s Local Bridge Maintenance and the council’s Capital Programme.

Story Contracting Ltd was awarded the £5.5 million contract by the Highland Council, to replace the old Invercoe bridge which was in very poor condition and had been reduced to single-lane traffic. The works required the installation of a temporary bridge and single-track road to demolish the old bridge, install new piled foundations, cast new concrete abutments and a pier, install 175-tonne steel bridge beams, cast a concrete deck, and lay the new road.

Managing director of Story Contracting (Scotland), John MacArthur said: “We are delighted to have successfully completed the replacement of Invercoe Bridge, our first civil engineering project for our new client, The Highland Council, ahead of the peak tourism season.

“This project required collaboration, innovation, and community engagement to ensure its safe and efficient delivery, and we are proud of what we have achieved together. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Highland Council and are grateful to the people of Glencoe for their patience throughout this essential work.”

Cllr Lobban said: “The opening of the new Invercoe Bridge marks a significant infrastructure improvement that will increase transport connectivity, reduce daily commute time, and create economic corridors that are integral to sustainable and economic growth for the people of Glencoe, Kinlochleven and the wider Lochaber area.

“I am sure that this major project delivered by Highland Council’s Capital Programme and supported by a £4.1m grant from the Scottish Government’s Local Bridge Maintenance Fund, will be very welcomed by the local community and all the visitors who are going to benefit.”

Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chair, Cllr Ken Gowans added: “I’d like to thank everyone in community for their support and understanding in times of unavoidable disruption and for accommodating the construction teams, many of whom were living away from their families much of the time. The new bridge is completed in time for the busy spring/summer season and will be welcomed by all that travel through some of finest scenery in world.”

Local government empowerment minister, Joe FitzPatrick said: “We’re pleased to have provided £4.1m from our Local Bridge Maintenance Fund to support the Invercoe Bridge replacement, which I know will be welcomed by the local community and those travelling to and from the Highlands as we approach the tourist season. This is just one example of our work with local government to invest in infrastructure projects that drive inclusive economic growth and build the resilient, sustainable communities that the people of Scotland expect and deserve.”

The bridge has been open since late 2022, however further environmental works continued until March 2023, including the installation of scour protection, removal of the temporary bridge and road, and restoration of the land to its previous condition.

The opening comes as members at this week’s meeting of the council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee will be allocating the distribution of £7.7m of the £20.5m capital roads budget specifically for carriageway structural maintenance.

Cllr Ken Gowans said: “Many of our roads are suffering from lack of attention due to limited resources over a number of years. The capital allocation for roads has been significantly increased for 2023/24. I am sure the committee members will join me in welcoming the £7.7m of capital funding for strategic projects as it will allow us to address the poor condition on some of our road assets across the region.

“The project list the Committee will discuss has been compiled taking a diverse approach, looking at urban and rural localities as well as all classes of roads, including where representations from Members or the public had been received. These strategic projects are additional to the ones already agreed by Area Committees who have considered their share of capital investment.

“By targeting these strategic projects, which can all be started and completed over the coming year, we hope to make a positive impact with the resources available to us.”

Convener Cllr Bill Lobban added: “It was a key budget decision by the Highland Council to significantly increase the capital allocation for road so it is good to know that plans are underway for the money to be spent to improve roads in our communities.”

The Highland Council has the longest road network in the UK with over 4,200 miles of local roads, over 1,000 miles of footpaths and more than 2,200 bridges and culverts spanning a region covering one third of Scotland.

The strategic projects members will be considering are spread across all geographic areas of the Highlands and include the following projects.

  • Badenoch & Strathspey – Overlay works on the A939 Bridge of Brown route
  • Caithness – Overlay and inlay works to the A99 Wick - John O’Groats route; overlay works on the U2052 at Shebster and on the C1010 Dunnet - Corsback Road.
  • Inverness – Overlay works on the B851 Farr to A9 and the A833 at Glen Convinth; inlays work on the U4608 Carsegate Road.
  • Lochaber – Overlay works on the B8005 Gairlochy – Clunes and on the A884 at White Glen; Inlay works on the A681 at Strontian.
  • Nairn – Overlay works on the B9101 B9090 junction to Geddes Burn
  • Ross and Cromarty – Inlay works to the A890 at West Achnasheen and overlay works on the A890 at Achnashellach
  • Skye – Surfacing works on the B886 Fairy Bridge - Stein and on the A851 at Kinloch; Inlay works on the A850 Snizort Bridge-Peiness Road.
  • Sutherland – Overlay works on the A836 Tongue - Thurso and on the A897 Helmsdale – Melvich road; Edge strengthening works on the B9176 Ardgay – Evanton road and inlay works to the A839 Lairg – The Mound.

The full list is available on the council’s website.

The Committee will also discuss the results of the Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey for 2022/23. This independent survey is an annual survey which assesses the condition of the Scottish adopted road network. It is used to calculate a Road Condition Indicator (RCI) that is used by Audit Scotland as a Statutory Performance Indicator for reporting road condition.

Share icon
Share this article: