Gairnshiel Bridge concern

The condition of Gairnshiel Bridge is causing concern
The condition of Gairnshiel Bridge is causing concern

Council chiefs have been urged to take action to safeguard an historic Deeside landmark.

Fears have been raised about the worsening condition of Gairshiel Bridge near Ballater.

Local councillor Geva Blackett has called for a “functional” bridge to be built adjacent to it.

She has for the cost to be included in Aberdeenshire’s captial plan “as a matter of urgency”.

In a letter to infrastructure services director Stephen Archer she says: “Five years ago this beautiful bridge was closed for some weeks to allow extensive – and expensive repairs – to take place and not for the first time.

“The resulting 40-mile detour caused chaos for motorists and had a severe impact on the fragile economies of Braemar, Ballater, Strathdon and Tomintoul.

“Now we find that despite the 18-tonne weight limit imposed, even more expensive and extensive repairs are required in the near future and as traffic increases with the snow road linking Grantown to Blairgowrie gains in popularity, so too will the need for major repairs as the bridge is no longer fit for purpose.”

The council’s bridges and structures manager, Donald Macpherson, said: “We are regularly monitoring the structural condition of the bridge and are presently determining remedial options and appropriate timescales, but at present there are no firm plans for any works to take place.

“In the meantime, there is an 18-tonne vehicle weight restriction in place on this bridge and we would urge all affected drivers to observe this.”