Aberdeenshire Council unveils its 10-year bridge prioritisation programme

Aberdeenshire Council has unveiled its prioritisation programme for the region’s bridges and structures over the next decade.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 12:00 am
There is a £750,000 programme of works at Park Bridge at Drumoak
There is a £750,000 programme of works at Park Bridge at Drumoak

Earlier this year, members of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee formally agreed a prioritisation policy and procedure which would set out how and when works will be undertaken across the region and direct funding to where it does the most good.

Councillors recently heard the ‘Bridges Workbank’ is critical to managing the local authority’s bridge stock and will ensure effective use of funding.

The local authority is responsible for 3,500 miles of public road, carried by 1,308 bridges, which equates to one bridge approximately every 2.7 miles of road. It is currently estimated that there is a £100m defect backlog within the council’s bridges and structures programme.

With more than £16 million allocated from the Bridges and Structures Rolling Programme for each of the next nine financial years, together with a further £30million from the Capital Infrastructure Investment Fund, the total budget spend will be £46 million.

Officers have advised that careful long-term planning using key criteria is required given the scale of the backlog of the works required for Aberdeenshire’s bridges and the time required to bring schemes from inception through to completion.

Having one prioritised list to cover all six council administrative areas provides the best basis for a clear plan for the future.

At Park Bridge at Drumoak there is a £750,000 programme of works for the conservation and refurbishment of the A-listed structure to ensure its long-term suitability for active travel purposes.

Chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Peter Argyle, said: “This has been a sterling piece of work by our bridges team and on behalf of the authority I wish to offer my sincere thanks for the efforts made on this challenging and complex issue.

Vice-chair Cllr John Cox added: “We are very conscious of the scale of the challenge facing Aberdeenshire’s bridges and our teams continually assess funding options and opportunities as well as considering radical solutions within our existing resources to remedy matters.”