Army clears debris from Royal Bridge

Soldiers remove storm debris from the arches of Ballaters Royal Bridge.
Soldiers remove storm debris from the arches of Ballaters Royal Bridge.

The Army have stepped in to help Ballater reach a major milestone in its recovery from Storm Frank.

Soldiers took to the River Dee to remove debris from the landmark Royal Bridge.

The B-listed structure was hit by caravans which floated down the Dee after it burst its banks at the end of December, with the wreckage of at least three vehicles tangled around one of the piers.

In a joint operation between Aberdeenshire Council and the Army last Wednesday, specialist equipment was brought in to cut up and remove debris from around the base of the bridge.

The authority’s director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer said: “This is an important milestone for Ballater – both visually and practically – and we are very grateful to the Army for their assistance in clearing the area around the bridge.”

When some of the larger sections of debris were removed, detailed inspections of the bridge structure were carried out to establish if any repairs were required.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor Geva Blackett said: “It was wonderful to see the REME men in Ballater helping to clear the last of the debris off the bridge - together with members of the community and council officers they did a fantastic job.”

Meanwhile, Foundation Scotland’s Flood Recovery Appeal will close for applications at 4pm on May 27.

It was launched in January in response to the devastation caused by Storms Desmond, Eve and Franks and has raised more than £675,000.