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Bridge should have light entertainment

By Staff Reporter

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An improvement group’s plan to floodlight an iconic Sutherland structure has gained overwhelming community support.

More than 87 per cent of respondents to a community consultation have backed a project to install uplighters at the bridge at Bonar Bridge and flood it with blue light.

The initiative is the latest project by the enterprising Bonar Bridge Improvement Group (B-BIG), which was formed in August last year.

It came into being after Lorraine Askew, manager of the village’s Bradbury Centre, which provides day care for elderly people, decided something needed to be done about the “untidy and overgrown” state of the village centre.

Since then she and a group of like-minded local residents have set to and transformed the area thanks to funding from the Eon Rosehall Fund.

New benches have been installed along with flower planters. A small raised bed, encased by a low stone wall and situated next to the bridge has been weeded, rotovated and planted up.

The windfarm funds also enabled B-BIG to place an old netting boat in the centre of the village and fill it with a flower display. The boat has a blue and black theme.

Mrs Askew, who serves as the group’s secretary, said: “We are delighted to be able to make the village a bit more presentable for our residents and visitors.”

B-BIG approached EON requesting funding for the floodlighting scheme but was told that the level community support for it would need to be gauged.

And a community consultation exercise since undertaken by the group has shown that the community are behind the plan.

“We put out forms to all the local shops, the library, post office and chemist and we also did a poll on Facebook and the results were that 87 per cent were behind it,” said Mrs Askew.

“We think the village needs something like this and it will look stunning in the dark winter nights.”

B-BIG has organised a number of fundraising events including a car treasure hunt at the recent Kyle of Sutherland Gala. The group also has a crowdfunding page.

B-Big is now to approach EON with the results of the consultation exercise and submit an application for funding.

Famous engineer Thomas Telford designed the original Bonar Bridge which was constructed in 181/12. It stood for almost 80 years but was washed away in a flood in 1892.

A new Victorian-style bridge was opened in July 1893 which lasted for another 80 years before, because of increasing traffic, it was replaced by the current bridge.

A single-span, all metal structure with the deck suspended from a tall, sweeping single arch, the bridge has been described as having a “stark elegance” and is a well known local landmark

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