SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar, Alasdair Allan, attended the official opening of the new Bernera Bridge earlier today.
Despite additional celebration events being cancelled due to the current Covid-19 situation, there was an excellent local turnout at the bridge’s opening ceremony.
In February this year, Allan strongly campaigned for funding to urgently be allocated to allow for a replacement bridge to be constructed between the island of Bernera and the rest of Lewis. Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes, confirmed in her February Budget update that an additional £32 million would be provided for local bridges maintenance, which would help rebuild and maintain key lifeline bridges such as the Great Bernera bridge.
It has recently been confirmed that £2.62m of the £3.1m cost of the replacement bridge will be met by this Scottish Government funding.
Work began in March after serious structural defects were discovered in August 2020, leading to an immediate 7.5 tonne weight limit being introduced on the original bridge.
Commenting after the bridge’s opening ceremony, Allan said:
“I am delighted that the Bernera Bridge replacement has now been completed and is open for public use. Funding for infrastructure projects such as this is incredibly important for our island communities, and I am glad that the Scottish Government were able to provide the necessary support for the Bernera Bridge replacement as well as many other lifeline bridges across Scotland.
“I would like to congratulate the Comhairle, the contractors and engineers for their tireless work on this project to bring it to completion, and I would also like to thank local residents and businesses for their patience during this period of disruption.”