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Misinformation over Kingussie's Spey bridge is now being addressed, says roads authority

By Tom Ramage

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Confusion over the scheduled resurfacing of the Ruthven Bridge by Kingussie is gradually clearing.

Sign of the (wrong) times last week
Sign of the (wrong) times last week

When a sign went up announcing an all-summer closure of the vital Spey crossing a community prepared to go into battle. Highland councillors, community councillors, the local MSP and chamber of commerce were mobilised, with the Highland Council roads authority targeted by residents and businesses.

They were left incredulous at the ‘insensitivity’ of a notice saying that from July 4 – Independence Day, for some – there would start 13 weeks of disruption and 12-mile detours.

Newly-elected Independent councillor Russell Jones said: “This caused considerable alarm among local people, businesses, farmers, crofters, cyclists and everyone else who uses the B970 back roads between Kingussie and Insh and beyond.

“I have made a few enquiries and the bizarre truth is that nobody actually knows who erected the sign and it definitely isn’t genuine, even though the stand it’s on is.”

Kate Forbes MSP: responded to community's 'serious concerns' over summer timing
Kate Forbes MSP: responded to community's 'serious concerns' over summer timing

Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes lobbied the roads department on her constituents’ behalf.

She said: “There is serious concern with the timing of the bridge closure during the peak tourist.

“I write to request that the work is rescheduled outwith the peak tourist season, which would help alleviate concerns of constituents and businesses,” she added.

Within hours the protestors were being assured by the council’s roads authority that the notice would be removed and any work scheduled for the bridge would start in September.

A council spokesperson told the Strathy: "The road works notice was created to cover the earliest possible start but the programme has since changed.

Patch job: but it's only temporary and the community is waiting for a permanent fix
Patch job: but it's only temporary and the community is waiting for a permanent fix

"The road closure sign was erected in error (it should not have been placed until the timing of the closure was confirmed).

"We have received a number of comments regarding the scheduling of the works, particularly around the tourist season and the shinty cup final to be held in Kingussie in September.

"At this stage we do not intend that works start until after the shinty cup final at the end of September.

"The length of closure is going to be about four weeks, not the 13 weeks stated on the sign."

The sign has since been removed.

And yet this notice, after a full week, remains on Road Traffic Scotland’s announcements of scheduled works. It states:

“Ruthven Bridge, Ruthven Road, Kingussie. July 4 until October 10, for 60 working days – bridge deck re-waterproofing; excavations in the road at each end of the bridge to instal new concrete ground beams; installation of sub-surface drainage; installation of expansion joints; and re-profiling of road surface levels on both approaches and along the full length of the bridge.”

The council have now explained: "The road works register will be updated in the next few days."

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