Home   News   Article

Slochd residents say 'Highland Council has just forgotten about us'

By Gavin Musgrove

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Liz and Ian Bishop at the blocked off approach to Slochd Cottages Bridge last Autumn.
Liz and Ian Bishop at the blocked off approach to Slochd Cottages Bridge last Autumn.

Residents in a tiny community have claimed they have just been forgotten about by Highland Council following the closure of an important road bridge for them.

People living at the Slochd have said that despite a deadline passing for a possible start date for work, they have heard nothing from the local authority on the future of the crossing on the old A9.

The Slochd Cottages Railway Bridge on the U2400 road between Blackmount and Slochd was closed towards the end of last October because of concerns that the structure was unsound due to it being used by HGVs using the route as a diversion following accidents despite the weight limit in place.

The council shut the bridge using concrete pillars without any warning or consultation with local users amid fears it could collapse onto the Highland main rail line below.

But the closure means Slochd residents have to cross the busy A9 on a notorious stretch of the road rather than using the old A9 to head south including parents on school runs to Carrbridge following the start of the new academic year earlier this week.

Liz Bishop said: “We feel a bit cut-off and it is horrendous to have to go out over the A9 when we just want to go to Carrbridge.

“The council promised us that work would start by the end of June and nothing has happened. Everything has gone quiet.

“They said it would be possible to open a single lane so that there were not two vehicles going over the bridge at the same time but we have heard nothing further.”

Mrs Bishop wrote to the council this past week asking for an update on the reopening of the crossing.

She said that her concern is shared by neighbours in Slochd, which has eight households.

“There are two families with children going to school again,” she said. “It is the same as what is happening at the Ralia junction but thankfully there have been no accidents so far this summer.

“Obviously we want some action from the council but even some communication would be better than the current situation. There has been nothing whatsoever. We have simply been forgotten about.”

The orange pin marks the site of the crossing by Slochd.
The orange pin marks the site of the crossing by Slochd.

A council road traffic survey showed that vehicles in excess of the 3T weight limit were using the bridge on a regular basis leading to fears it could collapse.

The bridge remains open for pedestrians and other users.

Five lives were lost in three separate fatal road accidents on the Slochd-Carrbridge stretch of the arterial road in just four months last summer.

A Highland Council spokesperson said: “The assessment has been delayed slightly due to staffing issues but is still in progress.

“It is hoped that the outcome will be known by early September.”

The local authority has been awaiting the outcome of a structural re-assessment of the bridge before deciding on reopening.

The council explained this is a normal process in this sort of situation which involves assessment of the bridge by two independent engineers.

Highland Council has already completed its assessment but is still awaiting verification from the other independent expert.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More