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Inverness drivers demand social media updates about canal bridge disruptions

Councillor Alex Graham
Councillor Alex Graham

Frustrated motorists are demanding a new warning system to let them know when the city’s swing bridges will be opened.

It is claimed boats on the Caledonian Canal can delay commuters by up to 20 minutes when they need access.

Local residents who use Inverness’s four canal bridges say a simple online post would prevent tailbacks and pollution.

Commuters facing 154 mile detour after Highland swing bridge gets stuck

But a spokesman for operators Scottish Canals said there would not be enough time due to the “reactive” nature of canal traffic demand.

Protocols mean rush hour traffic has “priority” in the morning, lunchtime and early evening but locals say more needs to be done.

Local councillor Alex Graham has backed those calls, adding “when the bridges open it can be very frustrating for motorists.”

He said: “I travel a lot and I have been held up at the bridge frequently and the problem is that opening the bridge takes as much as 20 minutes.

“It might be a good idea to alert us to the openings and I would welcome that.”

Liam Shand, who lives in the Scorguie area of Inverness, said: “It’s extremely frustrating that there is no way to alert road users of bridge opening times.

“Trying to get across town for appointments or simply getting home during the summer season can be very challenging when the bridges are opened on a regular basis.”

He added: “I also feel it would be a good time to review the peak time window with our ever growing city.”

Seonaid MacRae, a Kinmylies resident, said despite enjoying the “wonderful” boats going up the canal it is a problem for her.

She said: “I do have an issue at being stuck for up to 10 minutes during my short lunch break when the bridges are opened and have on rare occasions been caught twice in the same day.

“In this day and age with a world of apps, you might expect a company’s ability to communicate with the public would be smooth sailing but not so with Scottish Canals.”

A spokesman for Scottish Canals said there would not be enough time and he would not wish to encourage drivers to check their phones.

The spokesman said: “We will always consider how technology can improve the way we work, in this instance we wouldn’t want to encourage drivers to use their phones while at the wheel.”

He said that social media likely be ineffective as “the timeframes would mean the point about potentially encouraging drivers to check their phones would still apply.”

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