Mearns bridge funding approved

Councillor Leigh Wilson at the bridge
Councillor Leigh Wilson at the bridge

Aberdeenshire councillors have agreed funding to start remedial work on a Mearns landmark.

It follows the decision by Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee to allocate £260,000 to the Inverbervie Jubilee Bridge project.

Concerns had been raised by Mearns councillor Leigh Wilson regarding the suitability of the bridge since daylight started appearing through the cracks in the brickwork.

A temporary safety barrier has been put up along the bridge in response to the fears, but the funding that has now been secured will allow further work to progress.

Councillor Wilson has been pressing the council on the issue since he was elected last May.

He said: “It has been clear for some time that the bridge needs work done to keep it up to a serviceable standard.

“I am glad that this funding has now been agreed so we can progress with creating a second parapet.

“Local councillors had asked for long-term plans regarding a possible new bridge but carrying out this remedial work should extend the life of the bridge by around 25 years.”

He added: “In the future, with the opening of the AWPR and the Laurencekirk flyover, the local road network will be more able to absorb disruption from such a large project.

“The remedial work proposed is the most sensible decision to take at the current time.”

The Jubilee Bridge, an architectural highlight in the Mearns, was opened in 1935 and is renowned for both its size and curved radius.

However, the structure is now entering the final years of its lifespan, and this has prompted councillors to take action.

Proposals include plans to build a second parapet adjacent to the old one, narrowing the road and easing some of the current weight load.

Aberdeenshire bridges and structures manager, Donald MacPherson, advised that there are three elements to the proposed works in the coming year.

He said: “The first is installation of a Weigh in Motion System that will be able to measure the weights of vehicles using the bridge to determine if overloading is occurring and at what frequency,

“The second element is to put in additional measures to restrain errant vehicles over and above the containment provided by the existing parapets.

“The third is to commence the feasibility design for major refurbishment of the bridge, with works in future years.”