Repairs are now under way on Cruden Bay’s Ladies Bridge which is set to re-open within weeks.
The bridge, which is the main access from the village to Cruden Bay beach, had to be shut back in September on health and safety grounds after part of the parapet suffered storm damage.
Since then, Cruden Bay Community Association and Aberdeenshire Council have been exploring whether it would be necessary to replace the bridge altogether or whether it was feasible to repair the existing structure.
A refurbishment programme costing around £20,000 began last Monday, June 13, and will take approximately three weeks. The target date set for the bridge — which crosses the Water of Cruden and dates from 1922 — to re-open is July 1.
The repairs are being funded in part by the community association, which has already raised more than £2,500 in an appeal, a £2,500 grant from the Crown Estates, and by a contribution of up to £15,000 from Aberdeenshire Council.
An agreement under which Aberdeenshire Council is responsible for maintaining the bridge has been temporarily suspended to allow the repairs to go ahead, with the authority making a suitable contribution towards the cost in compensation for being released from its short-term obligations.
CBCA secretary Billy Collie said: “Our priority since September has been to get the bridge re-opened as quickly as possible and we are only too aware that this has taken far longer than any of us would have wished.
“Reaching this point turned out to be much more challenging and complex than we had anticipated, but we’ve now cleared all the obstacles, the repairs are going ahead and we are confident the bridge will re-open in time for start of the summer holidays.
“The bridge being closed has hugely affected the number of visitors to the village, and the businesses have also noticed a difference. We’ve had some great weather lately and hopefully people will get back onto the beach soon.”
The refurbishment programme, which includes replacing damaged parapets and strengthening work, is being carried out by JBS Group (Scotland) Ltd of Peterhead. Restricted access to the beach continues meantime.