Plans to replace the Fife Coastal Path footbridge in Aberdour, destroyed by severe flooding in 2020, have taken a major step forward.
A formal planning application detailing the design for the replacement bridge has been lodged by Fife Council to its own planning department.
The footbridge, which spans Dour Burn connecting Black Sands and Silver Sands beaches via the harbour, was damaged beyond repair during severe flooding which wreaked havoc across Fife in August 2020.
Bridge wrecked by storms
A deluge of flood water washed away abutments and support structures, as well as banking, resulting in the bridge’s collapse.
Since then the popular stretch of coastal path has impassable except for low tide when stepping stones, normally submerged under harbour water, can be used.
That has meant a lengthy detour through the village for walkers and tourists enjoying the coastal route.
Now following delays as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and following the completion of a complex structural and environmental survey which began in April, a formal plans for the replacement crossing have been submitted.
The plans include increasing the span of the bridge from five to seven metres to reduce the risk of future failure.
Replacement abutments will be fabricated from mass concrete while wingwalls will be installed on either side of the abutments.
These will provide additional stability and protection as well as directing the flow of water.
Meanwhile it’s proposed that the replacement bridge be made from a corrosion resistant fibre reinforced polymer.
That would give an expected 120 year lifespan.
‘Much welcomed step forward’
The news has been described as a “major and much welcomed step forward” by Ian Fleming, chairman of Aberdour Community Council.
“A replacement bridge can’t come soon enough not only for residents but for the many visitors to Aberdour,” said Mr Fleming.
“The geo-technical survey has been a long process which has involved a great many factors and a number of organisations and bodies.
“It sits within a conservation area as well an area of archaeological importance and there have been landowner rights and permissions to have been worked through too.
“We’ve not been given any timescales on the construction should the plans be approved.
A contractor will have to be appointed but if plans are approved then we’d hope to see the bridge work take place as soon as possible in 2022.”