A controversial weight restriction on a bridge on the outskirts of Laurencekirk is to go ahead, despite reservations from councillors.
Anerdeenshire Council are to impose the 18-tonne weight restriction at Brigton Bridge on the grounds of public safety, and have said that the funds are not available to replace the structure, which would cost an estimated £400,000.
Roads engineers claim a weight restriction is needed because of the deteriorating structural condition of the bridge.
Local farmers say that the ban will lead to an additional 300 lorries and tractors a year being forced to cross the A90 at the notorious Laurencekirk junction and travel through the town’s High Street. It will also mean tractors and HGVs over 18 tonnes having to make a seven- mile diversion via Fettercairn.
Approving the restriction at this week’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee, councillors said that they were left with no choice, as the money was not available to make the bridge safer.
A suggestion to ‘prop’ the bridge in the middle was dismissed by officers, saying that it would reduce water flow in the area and could increase the risk of flooding further upstream.
Councillor Dave Macdonald disputed this, adding: “There is nothing upstream, the next bridge up is half the size of this one.
‘‘A prop in the middle would increase the weight by eight tonnes. I do not support this.”
But Councillor Alison Evison said that the decision was out of their hands.
She said: “Something needs to be done about funding at a higher level. We have no choice here because we are restricted to a budget.”
Councillor Peter Bellarby added: “The report says that propping will increase the risk of flooding. Ideally there would be a better solution so we have no choice but to agree.”