Historic Inverness bridge may need to close for repairs
The category B listed suspension Infirmary footbridge in Inverness which traverses the River Ness between Ness Walk and Ness Bank may need to close for public safety until the Highland Council considers and secures funding for necessary repairs.
The council’s roads operations manager, John Taylor informed members of the City of Inverness area committee this week that all reasonable steps to delay the closure without compromising public safety were being taken into consideration.
The 83-metre bridge with wrought iron trusses supported by steel hangers, steel cables and wrought iron latticework towers is over 140 years old. Urgent repairs costing a minimum of £550,000 are required and failure to carry out these repairs could result in the closure of the bridge in the near future on the grounds of health and safety. The rate of deterioration of the bridge is being closely monitored and further inspections will continue to be undertaken which will inform any decision on the timing of the closure.
Councillors were informed that currently there is no capital budget allocated for the bridge within the Council’s budget and that a plan is currently being developed to try to secure funding for the necessary repairs potentially from a variety of sources.
Provost of Inverness and area, Cllr Helen Carmichael, said: “Public safety is paramount and Members’ support a temporary closure of the Infirmary Bridge until a funding solution can be found for its repairs.”
A briefing meeting will be held for members in the near future to provide a further update on the Infirmary Bridge.
Members were also updated on the maintenance of adopted road structures in the Inverness Area comprising bridges, culverts, retaining walls and cattle grids. In 2019/20 works were carried out at Convinth, Darris, Findhorn, Cantray, Chapel, Torness and Nairnside bridges and repairs were made to a cattlegrid at Erchite and to the Clachnaharry seawall.
Other works which were stopped due to the coronavirus lockdown are being planned to commence and be completed in 2020/21.