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Locals fuming about ‘death trap’ on Wick’s Service Bridge


By David G Scott

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A local man had to stop his car on the Service Bridge in Wick to avoid a major obstruction he thinks could have wrecked his vehicle.

Kyle MacGregor found his route barred by raised ironworks as he approached the Camps area and stopped just in time before his tyre was ripped apart.

Raised ironworks on the Service Bridge near the Camps area in Wick. Picture: Kyle MacGregor
Raised ironworks on the Service Bridge near the Camps area in Wick. Picture: Kyle MacGregor

“I had to come to a complete stop as a car was coming the other way, then had to drive around it,” said Kyle who added that this occurred on Wednesday, June 26 at around 6pm.

“I saw it and stopped the car to take photos. Apparently, a car got severely damaged going over it and the ironmonger heard it from his house.”

When he shared the images with the campaign group Caithness Roads Recovery (CRR), the Facebook post garnered 50 comments and was shared over 200 times.

Map showing location of the obstruction on Wick Harbour Bridge known locally as the 'Service Bridge'.
Map showing location of the obstruction on Wick Harbour Bridge known locally as the 'Service Bridge'.

One local woman said: “This happened 3 years ago too, James ripped the sump on one of our cars. He reported it then and it was ‘fixed’. Apparently, it's not the council's responsibility, it's the Waterboard's.”

Many others chipped in with comments about the state of the local roads and the “shocking” possibility of a major accident happening.

Another woman wrote: “Shocking!! A serious accident waiting to happen ..even a fatality!! If a motor cyclist / cyclist hit this!!!!! A school child could do the Risk assessment on this and see the seriousness and get something done!!! Shocking and dangerous.”

Others called it a “death trap” and called for immediate action to get the issue fixed.

Highland Council said it was waiting for a reply from the local roads team but a previous enquiry on a drain cover did highlight that this is the “responsibility of British Gas”.

Iain Gregory from Caithness Roads Recovery campaign group. Picture: DGS
Iain Gregory from Caithness Roads Recovery campaign group. Picture: DGS

Iain Gregory, who shared Kyle’s images on his CRR page, forwarded an email in response to the matter on Thursday evening.

"CRR received a report about this dangerous situation at about 1915 last night (Wednesday 26th June), along with photographs, which were also sent to us,” he wrote.

"We swiftly posted a safety warning on the CRR FB page, which was promptly viewed nearly 19,000 times, we emailed local Cllrs, and we telephoned Scottish Water, as it appeared that the ironwork may belong to a utility provider.

Raised ironworks on the Service Bridge near the Camps area in Wick. Picture: Kyle MacGregor
Raised ironworks on the Service Bridge near the Camps area in Wick. Picture: Kyle MacGregor

“We understand from Scottish Water, who kept in touch with us throughout, that it was actually the property of Scottish Gas, and that action was being taken to make the location safe.

"Exposed ironworks like this pose a very serious danger, and we are glad that the public got in touch with CRR so that we could take rapid action.

“We are only glad that nobody sustained serious injury – striking an obstruction like that on, say, a motorcycle, could lead to dire consequences."

Wick's provost Jan McEwan was shocked by the pictures but pointed out Highland Council's £2.1M investment in Caithness roads for 2024/5 that should help alleviate such issues. Picture: DGS
Wick's provost Jan McEwan was shocked by the pictures but pointed out Highland Council's £2.1M investment in Caithness roads for 2024/5 that should help alleviate such issues. Picture: DGS

Wick and east Caithness councillor and provost for the town, Jan McEwan said: “When it came to my attention I reported it as soon as possible and the roads team did get back to me that they are attending to it.

“I was very shocked when I saw the pictures but there are a lot of roads going to be fixed up around the town like around Argyle Square and Kinnaird Street and, of course, the streets the tourists see at Bridge Street and High Street. I hope these will be fixed ahead of Wick Gala Week.”

The Wick provost went on to highlight the recent announcement from Highland Council stating that the region is to benefit from a £2.1bn Highland Investment Plan that will take place over 20 years and that over £2M is earmarked for Caithness roads over 2024/5.

Roads funding will hopefully see many of Wick's potholed streets, like this one on Williamson Street, finally fixed. Picture: Alan Hendry
Roads funding will hopefully see many of Wick's potholed streets, like this one on Williamson Street, finally fixed. Picture: Alan Hendry

The council states that, over and above this, there will be additional funding over the next 20 years for roads, bridges, street lighting, fleet, plant, equipment, and other infrastructure including flood prevention, piers, and harbours.

Gas distribution company SGN said it is responsible for the raised ironwork on the bridge which is called a ‘toby cover’.

Waseem Hanif, a spokesperson for SGN, said yesterday afternoon: “Due to the condition of the road surface in Wick Harbour Bridge, a toby cover which provides access to our gas main became exposed.

“Our gas network was unaffected, and the road surface has now been repaired by our team. We’re removing the safety barriers around the toby cover right now and returning the road to normal.”

He pointed out that SGN had not worked on the road prior to this and the condition of the road is not the company’s responsibility. “Despite this, we have fixed the issue as quickly as possible,” he added.


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