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50 days closed in a year: Talks planned for troubled Torvean Bridge

The Torvean Bridge was closed at the weekend.
The Torvean Bridge was closed at the weekend.

Councillors will discuss repeated closures of the Torvean Bridge over the Caledonian Canal after its most recent shutdown.

Most recently, it was closed from Saturday until Monday.

The weekend closure was the fifth time the bridge has been out of action since it opened to traffic less than a year ago.

Most notably it closed for several weeks last summer.

The swing bridge officially opened in May 2021 as part of the £10.1 million final stage of the Inverness West link project.

After a commissioning period it was open to traffic on July 1.

Bridge designed to tackle congestion

Coupled with the nearby Tomnahurich Bridge, it is designed to tackle congestion on the A82 road.

The idea is that if one of the bridges opens for boats, the other remains available to keep cars moving.

But the Torvean crossing has now closed five times, totalling more than 50 days, since it came into public use.

Highland Council reported initial snagging issues in July 2021. Closures since then include-

July 8-August 12 2021 for technical/sensor issues.

January 6-10  2022 due to storm damage to the barriers.

April 16-19 2022 after a computer issue affected the CCTV cameras.

May 9-17 2022 due to an electrical component failure affecting one of the hydraulic pump controls.

The bridge crosses the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.
The bridge crosses the Caledonian Canal in Inverness.

On the first three occasions, repairs were carried out under warranty and at no cost to the council.

The May closure led to a temporary replacement component being installed, Discussions are ongoing as to how much of the work will be covered under warranty.

Regarding the most recent closure, a council spokeswoman said a fault was reported on Saturday (June 25) and was repaired on June 27.

She said: “While any closures to the Torvean swing bridge are regrettable, with Tomnahurich Bridge remaining available for traffic it is preferable to close the Torvean bridge while investigations and repairs are carried out.

“This ensures that no damage is caused to the bridge and the canal is not at risk of closure.”

Recurring issue

Local councillor Alex Graham will raise the closures with Inverness West ward colleagues at their next meeting in August.

He said: “If the Torvean Bridge is experiencing failures it is not providing the service it was intended for.

“Because there are two bridges, the impact is limited, but there is clearly some kind of recurring issue with the bridge.

“It affects a wide area, but it can have a major impact on the people of Scorguie and Kinmylies in particular.

“With a new mechanical device like this you expect teething problems. But I think we’re moving out of the teething stage now.”

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