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ON THE COVER: A birds eye view of Kessock Bridge in Inverness


Welcome to our latest newsletter highlighting the work being done by BEAR Scotland and our extended team of expert contractors across trunk roads in North West Scotland on behalf of Transport Scotland. The last six months have been as busy as ever maintaining the 883 miles of lifeline routes in this beautiful and remote part of Scotland. I’m delighted that the replacement of Ranochan and Arieniskill Bridges on the A830 is complete, marking another important milestone in the £10m bridge improvement programme on this key route. We are now looking ahead to work getting underway on the sixth structure at Criche this summer. Over the last six months we have also carried out an extensive resurfacing programme on the A87 on the Isle of Skye to ensure that the route continues to operate safely. This means the route will be in the best possible condition ahead of the 2017 tourist season and more resilient to adverse weather conditions.

Eddie Ross BEAR Scotland’s North West Operating Company Representative

Storm Angus kicked off the colder conditions in November and hit the country with 80mph winds. As ever during the winter months our winter maintenance teams have been working around the clock to ensure that trunk roads across the North West are kept as clear and safe for motorists as possible. We appreciate how important it is that the trunk roads are safely passable to the communities within this part of the country. Getting involved with local communities where we work is very important to us and I’m delighted to see our teams helping out with roadside litter campaigns in Glencoe, beachcleans in Brora and even white-water rafting for charity in Perthshire. I hope you find the newsletter an interesting read. As always, we would be delighted to receive feedback or answer any questions you may have.

We welcome your feedback, get in touch: Traffic Scotland Customer Care Line

For general information and reporting defects: 0800 028 1414

General enquiries:

01738 448600

Media enquiries only:

0330 008 0610 or 0845 296 0027 @NWTrunkRoads

New bridges open to traffic on A830

Newly built Ranochan and Arieniskill Bridges opened to traffic along the scenic A830 in the early new year following nearly six months of construction. The bridges were the fourth and fifth structures to be rebuilt on the route in the past three years following a £10m commitment from Transport Scotland to improve road safety on the route. The new bridges, approximately six miles and nine miles west of Glenfinnan respectively, were carefully constructed with stone used from the old bridges incorporated into the new design ensuring the bridges are in keeping with their surroundings. The structures and approaches provide a wider carriageway and verges, improved alignment and vehicle containment. Their low maintenance design has helped to future-proof this vital route. Temporary bridges were constructed at both locations as diversions for motorists while the old bridges were demolished and replaced. This helped minimise disruption to motorists as much as possible. The completion of the two bridges follows on from Dearg Bridge in December 2014, and Utha and Garbh Bridges at the end of 2015. Construction is due to begin at Criche Bridge in the coming months and Shlatach Rail Bridge in 2018, the sixth and seventh bridges in the £10M project. Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative said: “We also recycled some of the stone from the old bridge into the new design to make sure it fits in with the beautiful area. We hope the local community will be pleased with the new bridges at Ranochan and Arieniskill, and look forward to completing designs for the next bridges over the coming months.” Top: Completed Ranochan and Arieniskill Bridges. Middle: The two bridges are designed to blend into their rural surroundings as well as create a low maintenance structure designed to function safely. Below left: Arieniskill Bridge before the upgrade. Below Right: Ranochan Bridge under construction with temporary bridge and diversion in use.

Meet BEAR’s newly-named spreaders

Last winter, we ran a competition with local school children to name our winter maintenance spreaders. As a result our winter fleet includes the likes of Gritty Gritty Bang Bang, Mrs McGritter and Mr Plow. This year, we have added three more named gritters to our winter fleet. This time we encouraged delegates at the Road Expo trade conference in Edinburgh to get creative and name some of our 32-tonne spreaders. Two of the winning names, Ready, Spready, Go! and Gritallica, now adorn state-of the art gritters that can be spotted patrolling trunk roads in the North West of Scotland. Whilst Sir Andy Flurry, named after tennis ace Sir Andy Murray, carried out vital winter activities on trunk roads in the North East. Ahead of this year’s winter service getting underway, we had 32,600 tonnes of salt available to help treat the 1,498km of routes we maintain across the North West Unit. Low temperatures started in late October, with a minus nine temperature recorded in late November. Across the course of the last six months we carried out over 4,000 treatments across the network to ensure the routes remained clear and safe for motorists. Our winter period continues until 15 May, however here’s a snapshot of the scale of BEAR’s winter maintenance operation in the North West so far: •

30,782 tonnes of de-icing materials has been used in the North West Unit to cover this year’s winter service up to the end of March.

So far, 4,068 precautionary treatments have been carried out across the North West Unit this winter. The main focus of the winter service is to carry out precautionary treatments to prevent ice forming.

The North West’s three snow blowers are capable of moving up to 1,300 tonnes of snow per hour at any one time, although thankfully they have not been needed this year!

Over 100 operatives are trained to deal with winter in the North West Unit.

58 vehicles are involved in carrying out precautionary treatments, patrols and snow clearance in the North West Unit.

55 roadside weather stations located throughout the North West help to monitor road surface temperatures and road conditions through the Vaisala Road Weather Information System.

15 operational depots manage winter service patrols.

13 overnight patrols cover the North West Unit including five dedicated to the A9 between Perth and Inverness. The patrol vehicles are capable of carrying out reactive salting and record real time information on road surface temperatures.

Investing over £1.8m in the A87

Motorists using the A87 to reach the Isle of Skye have benefited from an improved road surface following an investment of over £1.8m over the last six months to the popular tourist route. The resurfacing works will improve the road surface for motorists and enhance road safety. Essential bridge works as well as a full and thorough bridge inspection also took place on Skye Bridge, with the bridge given a clean bill of health. The specific areas to benefit include North of Broadford Cemetery, Ard Dorch, North of Kingsburgh, Invergarry, Portree, South of Sconser, Ob Lusa to Kylerhea Junction and Auchtertyre to Kirkton. Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West representative said: “With the 2017 tourist season just around the corner, it’s reassuring to know that the route continues to be improved not only for tourists, but the local community too.”

The A87 at Sligachan, Isle of Skye

Helping out a community beach-clean in Brora Earlier this year, the local community in Brora reached out to BEAR to borrow a number of wheelbarrows to assist in removing rubbish along the coast as part of a local beach-clean initiative. Together dozens of volunteers shifted around ten tonnes of waste from a five-mile stretch of the Brora coastline, successfully recycling a large proportion of the rubbish that was collected. Michael Betoin is founder of a community group known as Coastline Guardians who help coordinate local volunteer-led beach cleans in the Brora area. Michael and his team of volunteers intend to use the wheelbarrows to clear another section of the beach later in spring, meaning over ten miles of coastline will be rubbish-free thanks to the efforts of the community. To read more about Coastline Guardians visit:

Community involvement Our teams live in and play an active part in the communities in which we work. Part of this commitment is to charity fundraising and taking part in team initiatives. Here are a few recent examples:

Supporting campaigns to reduce roadside litter Teams from our Corpach depot near Fort William assisted a group of volunteers from the National Trust for Scotland and Keep Scotland Beautiful in a litter-pick of the A82 through Glencoe in March this year. The volunteers picked up a total of 65 bags of rubbish from the roadside and our teams provided traffic management to keep everyone safe during the event. Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative, said: “Our teams helped support the roadside litter-pick in Glencoe by providing traffic management to keep volunteers safe. Trunk road safety is a top priority for us and roadside litter adds unnecessary risks to roadworkers and litter-pickers who have to clear rubbish from busy road sides due to thoughtless motorists that could easily be prevented.

From top left, clockwise: Teams helped manage traffic on the A82; BEAR are part of a group of stakeholders working to reduce roadside litter; 15 volunteers cleared 65 bags or rubbish from Glencoe.

“We encourage all road users to play their part and take their litter home with them.” BEAR is supporting a wider Keep Scotland Beautiful campain to reduce roadside litter in Scotland, where it is estimated around 50 tonnes of rubbish affect roadsides in Scotland each month.

Taking the plunge for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland

The annual Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland White Water Rafting challenge took place in March with two teams from BEAR racing 5.5 miles down the River Tay against five other boats to raise funds for charity. This year a record £2,750 was raised for Chest, Heart & Stroke Scotland from BEAR, with the teams taking both sixth place and the top spot - a great result!

Above: Teams from BEAR getting ready to take the plunge! @NWTrunkRoads

North West Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - Spring 2017  

Read about the latest news from the trunk roads in BEAR Scotland's North West Unit. We've got information about our most recent bridge upgr...

North West Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - Spring 2017  

Read about the latest news from the trunk roads in BEAR Scotland's North West Unit. We've got information about our most recent bridge upgr...