Tuesday 28th August 2018, 12:22pm
An important footbridge in Knoydart will not now be replaced this year.
The Carnoch Bridge, over the River Carnach at NM866965 was removed earlier this year after flood damage made it too dangerous to use.
Because it was little-used by the Camusrory Estate on which it stood, and was mainly used by walkers, Mountaineering Scotland made a donation of £5000 towards the estimated £50,000 replacement costs. This was matched by the Mountain Bothies Association and Scotways, and £10,000 was donated by the Scottish Mountaineering Trust. A private trust has also made a donation.
However hopes that the planned new bridge would be completed this year have now been dashed.
A statement from Camusrory Estate says delays have meant it will now be late spring or early summer 2019.
A spokesman said: “After much consultation with the Planning Authorities we now have an approved design, over 30 metres long, rated for a 1 in 200 year flood event. It was getting this flood event rating that caused some two months delay to the process, as we needed a full site survey, planning approval from SEPA, and significant re-design of the bridge itself to accommodate all the requirements.”
The contract for the construction was placed with A.J. Engineering in Fort William, who have said delivery time will be up to three months.
Two steel spans of the bridge can only be taken into the site by helicopter, each weighing approximately 950 kg.
The estate spokesman said: “We have therefore concluded, given the construction lead time, we will miss the 2018 weather window when we could have reasonably expected to effect a lift by helicopter. Accordingly A.J. Engineering are going to build the structure over the winter, and we will then look to have it installed and open for walkers in late spring early summer 2019.
“The cost of the bridge has invariably gone up very considerably as a result of the required design changes, and all transport costs.
“We have noticed fewer walkers crossing Camusrory this year, almost definitely as a result of not having this bridge in position. Rupert [Soames, the owner of Camusrory] fully understands that the Carnach Bridge is an essential link for those who want to enjoy the stunning landscape of the Rough Bounds of Knoydart and, while he regrets that circumstance has overtaken his intention to have the bridge in place before Christmas, all is in hand to have it in position for next season.”