16th October 1995

The Skye Bridge opens to traffic

By the late 1980s, Skye was becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, and traffic frequently backed up as visitors waited for space on one of the ferry services. At the end of the decade, therefore, the government invited tenders for the construction of a bridge, to be paid for by private enterprise, which would recoup its costs – and profit – from a toll.

Construction began in 1992 and the concrete and steel bridge across Loch Alsh opened on 16 October 1995. From that point on, it was possible to drive to Skye from Kyleakin for the first time.

Portree, Isle of Skye
Portree, Isle of Skye

The bridge proved popular, but the tolls were not. They were significantly higher than tolls levied for crossing the Forth Road Bridge and some claimed that this made the Skye crossing the most expensive bridge (to use) in Europe. Several drivers refused to pay the toll, which resulted in a significant number of arrests and prosecutions.

Shortly before the opening, the Aberdeen Press and Journal of 5 October 1995 reported that Skye and Lochalsh district councillors were divided over proposals to boycott the event over failures by the bridge owners or Scottish Office “to enter into meaningful local consultation on the operation of the toll structure on the bridge.”

The tolls were dropped at the end of 2004 and, later, all tolls were scrapped on Scottish bridges.



Other events that occured in October

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