Footbridge upgrade might not happen for three years
Funding: Despite being earmarked for works, it is on the 2017-18 ‘reserve’ list
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