A road on the north coast of Aberdeenshire which had to be closed at the end of last month will have to remain shut until spring while engineers progress plans to stabilise it.
Investigatory works have been carried out on the C37L Bracoden to Crovie Road following the initial closure to vehicular traffic to ensure public safety on September 25.
The road surface showed signs of stress, cracking following Storm Frank in January 2016 and has been regularly monitored since.
Recent wet weather caused further deterioration, so the council brought in specialist consultants Atkins Ltd, who also carried out investigations on the road in 2011/12.
They recommend the road remains closed to traffic until works are carried out to stabilise the slope below the stressed section of road. The road can still be used for pedestrian access to the village, which can also be reached via a footpath from the public car park.
Aberdeenshire Council is currently commissioning Atkins to prepare a detailed design and tender package to allow the progression of a stabilisation contract.
The outline programme is to have investigation and design works complete and a tender package ready in early December. This should allow stabilisation works to start in mid-January.
Based on the current assumption this will take the form of soil nailing, as used at Pennan and Stonehaven’s Bervie Braes, it is expected to take 6-8 weeks, with the road re-opened by mid-March. At this stage the reopening date is indicative and may be affected by a number of factors, including design issues, the availability of specialist contractors and the weather.
As the design process develops the programme will be refined and information updates provided to the local community. A plan has been agreed with the Emergency Services to ensure access to Crovie until the road re-opens.
Aberdeenshire Council is in regular contact with residents and property owners and, where possible, allowing controlled vehicular access and the delivery of essential fuel supplies.
Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, Philip McKay, said: “Clearly, after inspecting the road stability this is a necessary road closure in the interest of public safety and cannot be avoided. However we apologise for any inconvenience and thank residents for their cooperation.
“We are progressing plans to address the problem as quickly as possible and will aim to keep the community informed of progress towards reopening the road to vehicles.”