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ON THE COVER: A 32-tonne, eight-wheeler spreader clears snow from the A830 near Glenfinnan


Welcome to our February newsletter for the North West Trunk Road Unit. With our ‘winter’ period now in full swing, our teams are playing a key role in monitoring and keeping Scotland’s routes across the north west safe. We have an experienced winter team of over 100 specially trained drivers operating 70 winter vehicles, 18 of which are 32-tonne spreaders. Supporting our winter workforce is our winter control room which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The control room is vital for monitoring conditions so that we can carry out the right type of treatments at the right time. We thank all our staff involved in our winter operations and pass on special congratulations to our control room team, some of whom have been with BEAR since the start! Read all about our winter activity on page 3. Winter aside, the last few months have been as busy as ever across the North West. In early October, at the A83 Rest and Be Thankful, we dealt with one of the largest landslides ever recorded when around 3,000 tonnes of debris fell from 330m above the roadside following extremely heavy rain. The mitigation fencing which had been installed over recent years made a big difference, but a clear-up operation was required, and our teams worked around the clock to get the road reopened to motorists. Find out more on pages 4 and 5.

Eddie Ross BEAR Scotland’s North West Operating Company Representative

On the A835 near Leckmelm Farm (around three miles south east of Ullapool) work has just been completed on a £1M project to tackle flooding issues which have been a historic issue. We also celebrate the £24M which has been invested in resurfacing across the unit since the start of 2018. There’s more on pages 6 and 7. We remain as committed as ever to raising funds for good causes which our staff help us choose. Read all about what we’ve been up to on page 8. Enjoy your winter newsletter read! Until the Spring…

We welcome your feedback:

Traffic Customer Care Line by Traffic Scotland

For general information and reporting defects: 0800 028 1414

BEAR Scotland General enquiries: 01738 448600

BEAR Scotland Media enquiries: 0330 008 0610 or 0845 296 0027 @NWTrunkRoads Find us on LinkedIn

Ready in the North West for Winter

This winter, we have over 58,000 tonnes of salt in stock, a workforce of 100 winter operatives and a fleet of 70 winter vehicles dedicated to keeping the 1,422km of trunk roads we manage in the North West as clear and safe as possible. Much of the ensuing winter maintenance service is related to precautionary treatments being undertaken in a bid to stop ice forming which involves spreading pre-wetted salt on routes forecast to experience low temperatures. This work will be carried out by our winter fleet including 18 large 32-tonne eightwheeler spreaders - some of the largest and most advanced in the UK. The service also incorporates winter patrols which monitor routes with the ability to spot-treat any icy patches. Transport Scotland’s online ‘trunk road gritter tracker’ provides live tracking of our gritters on the network. It displays their current location and a trail showing the route taken. Why not take a look and track the famous Gritallica or Mr Plow as they travel around the network. Road users are encouraged to plan their journeys in advance by checking with Traffic Scotland for up to date travel information via, twitter at @trafficscotland or the new mobile site:

BEAR Scotland 24/7 Control Room Celebrates 10th Anniversary This winter season marks the tenth year of the 24/7 winter control room in our Perth Headquarters and the central role it has played to BEAR’s winter response service - analysing detailed weather forecasts and road temperatures to ensure treatments are carried out as required. Prior to the 24/7 control room, reactive incident support and winter operations were managed by a peak time control room and off-peak rota of duty managers and supervisors. The provision of a control room presence 24/7, brought about as part of the Third-Generation trunk road contracts in 2008, today continues as part of our Fourth-Generation contracts which BEAR operate today, and has ensured a consistent response to operations on the Unit Iain Murray, BEAR Scotland’s Managing Director, said: “This year marks the tenth anniversary of our 24/7 winter control room which continues to be central to our winter response activities. It monitors road conditions and weather reports and works in partnership with our operational teams, emergency services and our service providers on the ground, allowing us to both prepare ahead and respond quickly when winter conditions hit - from the challenges of low temperatures and snow to extreme storms. It really has been pivotal in helping to keep Scotland moving during some of the most severe winter conditions in recent years.” Angie MacGregor, an Incident Liaison Officer in the control room since its inception in 2008, said: “There have been some major weather events and incidents in the ten years I have worked in the control room. It is good knowing that our efforts have made a huge contribution to keeping roads open during winter and throughout the year coordinating attendance to various incidents such as road traffic collisions, landslides and flooding.”

A83 Rest and Be Thankful

At 803 feet above sea-level, the Rest and Be Thankful is the highest point on the A83, separating Glen Kinglas from Glen Croe, and is one of the most challenging roads to manage due to its location and the nature of the adjacent hillside. October last year saw the worst landslide to occur on the route – with around 3,000 tonnes of debris from multiple landslips reaching the area above the carriageway, following extremely heavy rain. One of the landslips occurred some 330m above the road, creating a ‘fan effect’ with material spreading out as it reached the bottom. Luckily, most of the debris was captured by the specially designed landslip mitigation fencing and catch-pits, which were installed as part of an £11M investment in safety measures to the hillside since 2010 to prevent debris from reaching the roadside. However, the team still had a huge clear-up operation on their hands to make the hillside safe again, working around the clock to get the route reopened as soon as possible.

Around 3,000 tonnes of debris from multiple landslips reached the mitigation measures above the A83

Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative said: “The heavy rainfall in October resulted in one of the worst landslips to occur on the A83. Thankfully the mitigation measures helped to stop a vast amount of debris that fell. Due to the possibility of further landslips the road was closed for some time as our teams worked around the clock to make the situation safe. “We thank all of the expert team members we had on-site to help with the clean-up operation. Everyone involved really did go above and beyond to ensure the hillside was safe so that the route could reopen to motorists. We also thank the local community for their patience whilst work was underway.” Mitigation works to the hillside on the A83 continue with the creation of additional drainage and debris flow catchpits to help stop debris from any potential future landslides.

£24 Million Investment in Surfacing Projects

BEAR Scotland has carried out around £24m of surfacing projects throughout 2018, ensuring the smooth running of Scotland’s key routes across the North West. The works have seen repairs and resurfacing carried out at over 150 locations from Campbeltown to Wick repairing accelerated road surface deterioration caused by the severe winter weather conditions experienced last winter, where the freeze and thaw cycle had substantially weakened the carriageway. Transport Scotland provided additional funding to the planned budget for the 2018/2019 in a bid to address the weather-related road defects. The investment has ensured that the routes BEAR Scotland manages were returned to good condition prior to this winter. Jamie Finlayson, BEAR Scotland’s North West Roads Manager, said: “It has been one of our busiest years for resurfacing which reflects the fact that many routes had deteriorated more than usual during the extreme winter

weather we experienced earlier this year and additional budget was set aside to support this work. “The challenge for our road’s team was to deliver the extra work in addition to the planned activity before the on-set of a further winter. This year’s record level of spend and speed in which the work has been completed is testament to the tremendous effort from the team. “We rely heavily on dry weather for resurfacing works so we are now looking ahead to the programme for spring 2019 to ensure that works are planned to avoid peak tourist seasons wherever possible. “We want to thank the local communities and motorists for their continued patience while our teams worked to complete the programme of surfacing repairs throughout the year.” Real time traffic information is available from Traffic Scotland at or twitter @trafficscotland.

New Protective Painting Trial Takes Place on A9 Kessock Bridge

• £28 million is what it will cost to fully repaint the bridge which could take up to four years

• £1.5 million is the cost of the trial which will take four months

• Over 1,000 litres of paint will

A four-month trial to determine the most effective method to carry out essential protective painting works to the A9 Kessock Bridge got underway in September.

be applied to the bridge during the trial.

• 12 people from specialist

The aim is to allow specialist teams to determine the best strategy for carrying out future protective painting measures across Kessock Bridge, ensuring the bridge remains protected for years to come.

• Every 20-25 years the

The work involves erecting specialist covered scaffolding beneath the bridge deck which will allow teams to safely access the bridge components. The covered scaffolding also enables teams to safely remove the old coating on the bridge and re-paint the structure while ensuring the bridge remains protected from the elements.

subcontractors will be on site during the painting trial at any one time. bridge needs repainted

BEAR Scotland’s North West Bridges Manager Chris Tracey, said: “This painting trial beneath the A9 Kessock Bridge will allow our teams to understand access, cleaning and application challenges of the process and will provide a valuable insight into the best options for painting the whole bridge over the coming years.”

Innovative £1M Flood Prevention Project An innovative £1m project to create a new culvert under the A835 near Leckmelm Farm to tackle flooding issues has now been completed. Work to replace the existing culvert, which is located three miles south east of Ullapool, started in November 2017 with a temporary bridge being constructed next to the site to help minimise disruption and ensure the route remained open for motorists throughout the works which is an essential route for those in Ullapool and the Outer Hebrides. The new culvert which has been created is a larger, box culvert design and will provide a significantly increased capacity for water flow and designed to last for over 120 years. Commenting on the project, Eddie Ross, BEAR Scotland’s North West Representative said: “This £1 million project has addressed the historic flooding issues near Leckmelm Farm and will improve road safety during periods of heavy rain. We thank the local community for their support during the construction phases which presented a variety of site challenges but we are positive the outcome will be a positive one and will mitigate future issues during periods of heavy rain.”

Community Involvement

Christmas Jumpers for Cash for Kids Teams across the company once again got involved in a Christmas Jumper Day for Cash for Kids as part of their Annual Mission Christmas fundraising Campaign. We have raised an amazing £2,000 for the charity over the past four years!

Coffee and Cake delights help to raise £300 for cancer charity

The BEAR Scotland team got together over a coffee and a slice of cake in September to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. It’s the fifth year the team have supported the annual event and their baking efforts, which included a homemade fruit flan and Victoria sponge, helped them raise £300.

Team MovemBEAR support Movember Foundation Once again a group of ‘Mo Bros’ and ‘Mo Sistas’ got involved in our annual Team MovemBEAR challenge to raise funds for men’s health charity the Movember Foundation. The Foundation addresses some the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. Throughout November the team were raising funds by either ‘Moving for Movember’ clocking up an impressive 210km between them or committing their facial hair to the cause and ‘growing a mo’ for charity. Together they raised over £630 for the Movember Foundation! A fantastic effort from all involved. Take a peek at this year’s ‘Mo Gallery’ to view their efforts! @NWTrunkRoads

Profile for BEAR Scotland

North West Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - February 2019  

Read about the latest news from the north west trunk road network, including project updates, the tenth anniversary of our 24/7 control room...

North West Connections - Stakeholder Newsletter - February 2019  

Read about the latest news from the north west trunk road network, including project updates, the tenth anniversary of our 24/7 control room...