WORK BEGINS ON KYLES BRIDGE
IN A surprise move the Scottish Government has announced that work begins today on a bridge over the Kyles of Bute, replacing the Colintraive - Rhubodach ferry.
Engineers say – if all goes to plan – the first vehicles will traverse the structure on April 1, 2012.
The bridge, to be funded privately, will attract a toll roughly equivalent to the current ferry fare.
Cowal Councillor Ron Simon told the Standard: “Although my preference was clearly for the tunnelling option with tramlink straight to Rothesay I am happy that a permanent link is now to be established.
“This will, however, mean that Bute will lose its island status and associated funding but I am sure that we could have a whipround every couple of years to fill the odd pothole. Colintraive will now be relieved of pressure for parking spaces and this will be a green light to placing double yellow lines through the village.
“I am struck by the innovative funding package, which includes the introduction of a toll for the first 25 years.
“It will be my intention to campaign against this over a generation but take some comfort that the toll will be set using a ferry equivalant tariff and shouldn't cost the average driver much more than a week’s wages (return).”
Chief engineering consultant Prof Alid Loyas explained how the bridge can be built so quickly. He told the Standard: “Global Positioning System (GPS) will be used to locate bridge working points more accurately and quickly with fewer people. Each succeeding unit of segmental structure will be located by GPS, and adjustments to elevation and plan locations will be made instantly.
“Construction equipment will be run by computers that are directed by GPS. One person will monitor multiple units from a remote location via video cameras and computers.
“Precast foundation, abutment, pier, and superstructure units will eliminate costly field formwork.”
It is understood that top bridge builder Ronald Shaw of Strachur could be recalled from a major contract in Australia to complete the multi-million pound works.
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