Inverness’s Infirmary Bridge faces a wobbly future as its condition deteriorates and there’s no money in the coffers to repair it.
The 1876 pedestrian bridge spans the River Ness between Ness Walk and Ness Bank, and supports an average of 40,000 crossings a month, reaching 68,000 in peak times.
Its condition means it has to be closed during big events in Bught Park, and now faces more permanent closure if £550,000 can’t be found to repair it.
Running repairs have been regularly carried out on the bridge from the council’s £64,000 budget covering all Inverness bridge repairs, but the deterioration is now affecting its underside requiring expensive scaffolding.
The ailing bridge is 270ft long, supported by steel hangers, steel cables and wrought iron latticework towers.
The bridge had major repairs in 1977 and 1994.
Its condition will now be checked monthly.
City councillors pointed out the vital importance of the bridge as an active travel route, and iconic tourist photograph.
Councillor Bill Boyd demanded a scoping project to be ready to invite tenders as soon as the money became available, while Councillor Andrew Jarvie said the bridge should be be put in the capital plan and the work undertaken immediately.
“This bridge has extraordinarily high footfall, active travel money has been spent on the roads on either side of it, I can’t accept it will close,” he said.
Council officers undertook to investigate funding sources for the repair from various sources outside the council.