Highlands & Islands

Skye Bridge wind closure plan to be reviewed

Skye Bridge Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The crossing is closed to all traffic when wind gusts to 75mph and stronger

The system used to determine when the Skye Bridge should be shut during high winds is to be reviewed.

Highland Council said islanders were concerned that they were not receiving enough warning before the crossing was closed in bad weather.

Roads management company Bear Scotland is to make available automatic alerts via text and email.

Bear Scotland's review will include a look at where wind speed monitoring equipment is sited.

The anemometer has been located near Eilean Ban, a small island beneath the bridge for a number of years.

Bear Scotland uses three levels of warning in the crossing's wind management plan.

Gusts greater than 35mph prompts a high winds warning, 50-75mph closes the bridge to high side vehicles and 75mph and stronger shuts it completely.

The review was agreed during a meeting between Bear Scotland, police, NHS Highland and Highland councillors.

New traffic management plans will also be created for both sides of the bridge.

'Extremely useful'

Weather warnings and information on closures are to be made available.

Anyone will be able to sign up to receive the automatic alerts from the monitoring system on the bridge by text or email. Updates will also be posted on Twitter.

Skye councillor Drew Millar said islanders and businesses had been seeking information on the process used to activate bridge closures.

He said: "Maintaining the route to and from our island is vital not only to the convenience of people living, working and visiting Skye, but also for the economic impact on communities both sides of the bridge.

"The meeting was extremely useful and informative with all the agencies round the table contributing fully and committed to working together as partners to make any closures in the future easier on the travelling public."

Eddie Ross, of Bear Scotland, added: "Although there has been no change to the way wind speeds are measured or closures are triggered on the Skye bridge, the recent weather conditions have highlighted some concerns to us, and to members of the public.

"Following recent meetings we are keen to investigate further with our stakeholders including Transport Scotland, Highland Council and Police Scotland, and we are already putting a plan into action that will see improved systems for advising people of restrictions or closures when high winds occur."

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