The frequent closure of the Skye Bridge because of high winds is damaging the local economy, a Highland MSP has claimed.
Labour member David Stewart has now written to Transport Minister Derek Mackay quizzing him about the issue after local people claimed the number of closures had soared in recent months.
The anemometer which determines the wind speed on the bridge is located near Eilean Ban, the island below the bridge.
There are three levels of warning – 35mph prompts a high wind warning, 50-75mph closes the crossing to high sided vehicles and 75mph and above leads to a complete closure.
Mr Stewart, who is shadow transport minister, said: “The more closures that occur, the more economic damage is done to the island and its surrounding communities.
“Given that it is the only road route to and from the island an element of common sense needs to be introduced. Having spoken to many islanders recently, many tell me that they are not getting enough warning of closures and there have been questions raised over the high number of closures during the recent winter months.”
“Whilst bridge closures may be a minor inconvenience in many other places in Scotland where there are alternate routes available, for those wishing to travel to and from Skye a bridge closure can cause major problems, from missed hospital appointments to missed travel connections and business meetings.”
A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “When severe winds occur on the Skye Bridge pre-planned restrictions are implemented by Police Scotland and Bear Scotland for public safety. These plans also act to minimise disruption by preventing prolonged disruption should a high-sided vehicle be blown over and require recovery. With specialist meteorological advice the bridge is re-opened as soon as the winds drop to consistently safe levels.
“Bear Scotland are required to review the Skye Bridge wind management plan after critical incidents and are currently engaging with partners to ensure the on-going safe and efficient management of the bridge.
“We are also currently working on the required information to allow the minister for transport and islands to respond to Mr Stewart’s written questions through the normal parliamentary process.”