Call for cash help for Shire bridges

Park Bridge near Drumoak has been closed since February. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council
Park Bridge near Drumoak has been closed since February. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council

An Aberdeenshire MP has challenged the Scottish Government to “stump up the cash” for costly bridge repairs because the cash-strapped local authority only has money for a single project.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine Conservative Andrew Bowie spoke at the latest consultation event held by Aberdeenshire Council, where several options for Park Bridge have been presented to residents.

The 150-year-old bridge connects the communities of Durris and Drumoak but closed after defects were discovered in February.

Looking at the median option at Crathes Kirkton Hall, Mr Bowie said the £1.7 million needed to restore the bridge is as much as the council’s entire bridges budget.

He has written to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, urging him to send more money for crucial infrastructure projects on which communities rely.

He said: “Aberdeenshire’s roads in general are some of the best in Scotland.

“But the number of beautiful rivers running through our towns and villages are an issue because we need so many bridges to keep communities connected.

“In Deeside, just one bridge at Durris will absorb the council’s entire budget available.

“And it is essential that goes ahead, but it is only the start of what needs done across my constituency.

He added: “Look at Abbeyton, where it cost £1 million just to demolish the bridge near Fordoun.

“I’m still pushing for a solution for the businesses that were cut off.

“I have asked Michael Matheson to put his hands in his pockets stump up the cash in Deeside for a start.

“The North-east is the engine room of the Scottish economy but receives so little from the Central Belt.”