‘Treasured’ bridge declared unsafe after crash damage

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A historic bridge near the North East town of Cruden Bay has been closed after a car crash seriously damaged the stonework.

One side of the six-foot-wide Bishop’s Bridge collapsed when a vehicle ploughed into it last week.

Council officials have announced that work has begun to repair the damage and it is hopedthe project will be complete by the end of this week.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of roads and landscape services Philip McKay said: “Unfortunately, we have had to close Bishops Bridge following a road traffic accident on Sunday.

“Initial reports indicated that a large section of parapet had been damaged, potentially compromising the safety of road users.

“Works have started on the project and aim to be finished by the end of next week depending on the weather.”

The bridge, built in 1697, was immediately closed after the crash while an emergency repair plan was drawn up.

No one was injured in the crash which happened at around 11am on the morning of Sunday, November 17.

Independent councillor for Peterhead South and Cruden Tom Malone told the Buchanie: “It is upsetting that the damage is so extreme.

“It is such a treasured and iconic strucure. As I understand it, the damage is limited to the wall and the foundation remains sound.

“The Council will want to effect a speedy repair and get things back to normal as soon as possible.”

SNP councillor for the ward Stephen Smith, who lives locally to the site, said: “This is not only very inconvenient for local people but also extremely disappointing as it is only days since repairs were completed to damage which I reported previously.

“I’ve spoken to the Roads department and they are confident temporary repairs can be carried out to have the bridge reopened by 6 December.

“However, due to the age of the bridge and its historic nature, permanent repairs will be a specialist job and will likely have to wait for better weather in the springtime.”

This is not the first time vehicles have caused damage to the narrow bridge.

In 2010, lorry drivers who ignored the width and weight restrictions signposted either side of the Water of Cruden were criticised for knocking stonework into the river below.

The bridge was originally built to help members of the nearby Cruden Old Church get to worship.