A major project to protect a town and its access road from a landslip has been completed ahead of schedule.
Work has been taking place at Crovie for the last ten weeks. The road had been expected to reopen in the middle of November, but will reopen at 1pm today (Friday, October 19).
The landslip has been worsening since 2009. Aberdeenshire Council took the precautionary approach to close the road to vehicles in September 2017, meaning access was only possible on foot.
Around £500,000 has been spent on the project which has included the installation of soil nails and mesh across the slope to help prevent any further movement. Additional drainage has been built into the slope and the road, to help protect homes and the access road, which has also been fully reconstructed to repair earlier damage caused by the slip.
Councillors who allocated funding for the work had heard that if action was not taken there was significant risk of increased cost to deal with a larger slippage in future and the potential for substantial damage to properties.
Five hundred square metres of mesh has been installed over the face of the slope, attached to 172 soil nails driven into the ground. Hollow drainage kerbs have also been installed on the road.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Committee (ISC), Peter Argyle, said: "This was an extremely difficult and technical situation, requiring specialist expertise and significant sums of money, so I'm very pleased to see it conclude successfully.
"The council is not obliged to carry out this kind of work, but recognised the issues being faced by the community and the potential negative impact on tourism and I'm pleased we've been able to give the community peace of mind into the future."
Chair of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, Andy Kille, added: "I'm very pleased the council recognised the issues being faced by the communities in Crovie and Gardenstown and was able to offer solutions to their landslips.
"Access to these villages is not only important for those who live and work there, but also for Aberdeenshire's growing tourism industry, being famous all over the world.
"I'm delighted to see Crovie's access road reopen - the quality of the work looks excellent and capable of withstanding the worst of the weather this coast will no doubt throw at it."
The work was carried out for the council by Geo-Rope Ltd, a geotechnical and rope access company based in Ballachulish.
Completion of the work at Crovie follows a separate project to tackle a landslip in the nearby community of Gardenstown.
The first phase of works there was completed in June 2018, where soil nails and mesh were again used to secure the slope above the village’s Harbour Road and properties below.
The slope will continue to be monitored and discussions are ongoing on possible solutions for further stabilisation of the slope if required.
The Scottish Government has told the council no financial assistance is available to help minimise the impact on its resources caused by work to protect the two villages from landslips.