Driv­ers set to see three week road di­ver­sion

Evening Express (City Final) - - News - By Jodie Molyneux

MO­TORISTS are fac­ing a 24-mile de­tour as two his­toric bridges and a well-used tourist route close for three weeks.

The A939 Bal­later to Tom­intoul Road, along with Gairn­shiel and Mil­ton Bridges, will shut next month.

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil has warned the work could af­fect bus tour com­pa­nies that op­er­ate along the route.

The road, which links Royal Dee­side to Don­side, will close from May 14 for three weeks, dur­ing which a com­bined di­ver­sion route will be in place via the A93 (Crathie, Bal­later and Din­net), A97 Din­net to Don­side and A944 through Strath­don to Colnabaichin.

The coun­cil has writ­ten to more than 20 bus tour com­pa­nies to make them aware of the weight re­stric­tion, which cur­rently only af­fects very large coaches.

The ad­di­tional dis­tance trav­elled when go­ing be­tween Brae­mar and Tom­intoul will be 24 miles.

The Gairn­shiel Bridge has with­stood dam­age by large ve­hi­cles ne­go­ti­at­ing the sharp cor­ner at the north end, and de­spite ef­forts to widen the ap­proach to the north and par­tial re­build­ing of the south end, it has con­tin­ued to de­te­ri­o­rate and struc­tural ca­pac­ity con­tin­ues to be an is­sue.

Dam­aged stonework will be taken down and re­built on both bridges and the Mil­ton Bridge will be strength­ened by the ad­di­tion of con­crete back­ing.

Re­pairs were also post­poned due to the use of tra­di­tional lime mor­tar re­quir­ing suit­able weather.

Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil’s bridges man­ager Don­ald Macpher­son said: “Car­ry­ing out re­pair of the two bridges in the same vicin­ity and at the same time, as well as any road re­pairs, is in­tended to min­imise dis­rup­tion for road users and the ef­fect on tourists vis­it­ing the area.

“Hope­fully this will also mean the road doesn’t have to be closed for re­pairs later in the year.

“Given this work has to take place in bet­ter weather, we’re do­ing it at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity, hope­fully en­sur­ing the road re­mains open in the peak sum­mer sea­son.”

Clo­sure: The Gairn­shiel Bridge is to shut for three weeks.

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