Foot­bridge upgrade might not hap­pen for three years

Fund­ing: De­spite be­ing ear­marked for works, it is on the 2017-18 ‘re­serve’ list

The Press and Journal (Aberdeenshire) - - NEWS - BY JOANNE WARNOCK

A much-used foot­bridge in Aberdeen­shire has been ear­marked for an upgrade – but lack of fund­ing could mean a three-year wait.

The Meik­lemill foot­bridge spans the River Ythan and links El­lon’s Gor­don Park to Meik­lemill Pri­mary School.

The £30,000 re­design costs of the 30-year-old bridge is in­cluded in the lat­est an­nual re­port on bridge main­te­nance. But it has been given a low pri­or­ity on a “re­serve” list of works for 2017-18.

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Gil­lian Owen has wel­comed the news as she has been con­cerned about the bridge since the Jan­uary 2016 floods.

Mrs Owen is hop­ing that the ex­tra money needed can be found next year and said: “I was de­lighted to read that the upgrade to the Meik­lemill foot­bridge is now listed on the works pro­gramme, this is an is­sue that I have been con­cerned about for a while.

“If no ad­di­tional money be­comes avail­able in 201718 then it would be pro­posed to carry out the de­sign early in the fi­nan­cial year 2018-19.

“It’s due to be re­placed and has had a haz­ardous cou­ple of years with the flood­ing and the walk­way sur­face was re-laid – it’s been closed a few times.

“It al­ways cre­ates quite a riot hav­ing it closed as it is a long walk round to the next bridge – but they would time any clo­sures around school hol­i­days to be less dis­rup­tive.”

Of­fi­cers in the mean­time con­tinue to mon­i­tor the struc­ture once ev­ery two months, Bridges and Struc­tures man­ager Don­ald Macpher­son said: “Re­cent mon­i­tors have not shown any ad­di­tional lat­eral move­ment of the main beams. We do have some scour re­pairs that we will carry out in 2017-18 un­der the gen­eral bridge main­te­nance scheme.

“Look­ing af­ter bridge in­fras­truc­ture in an ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive man­ner is vi­tal for a ru­ral author­ity like Aberdeen­shire, who owns 1,270 bridges – with a re­place­ment cost of £400mil­lion.”

Coun­cil­lor Owen con­cluded: “This is good news as far as it goes and I am grate­ful to the of­fi­cers for their watch­ing brief. I felt it im­por­tant af­ter the dra­matic floods of Jan­uary 2016 the coun­cil re­viewed the safety of the bridge and that mon­i­tor­ing con­tin­ues. I will also con­tinue to keep my eye on it too.”

“But they time any clo­sures around school hol­i­days”

GLASS HALF FULL: Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Gil­lian Owen is de­lighted Meik­lemill bridge is now listed on the works pro­gramme, but hopes the upgrade will take place soon

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