Another £40,000 is to be pumped into monitoring Inverbervie’s crumbling Jubilee Bridge amidst a councillor’s call to “bite the bullet” on the replacement of the ageing structure.
More than £1 million is due to be spent on the A92 crossing in the next few years, but after studies showed the heavy loads the 1935 structure is having to cope with, Mearns councillor George Carr said the time to plan for a new bridge had now arrived.
He admitted, however, that Scottish Government help will be needed for a replacement which could cost as much as £20 million.
The 1,700 foot long, eight span reinforced concrete curve was at the top of a bridgeworks schedule for 2019/20 agreed by Kincardine and Mearns area committee councillors at their latest meeting, with £40,000 of an estimated £675,000 outlay earmarked for the village structure.
Mearns Conservative Mr Carr said monitoring equipment put in place to track vehicle loads going across the bridge had shown figures as high as 70 tonnes at times.
“It was a bit of a surprise that there were such heavy movements and I think decisions need to be taken with regard to Jubilee Bridge,” he said.
“It is escalating in need and we can’t keep putting good money after bad.
“If we’re going to replace the bridge then let’s get on with it, but that will need government assistance and it is fundamental we get that partnership approach.”
A further element of the 2019/20 maintenance programme is the shared project with Angus Council for the second phase of works to the ancient Gannochy Bridge on the B966, a couple of miles north of Edzell.
It was closed for five weeks in 2017 for vital repairs and a further £205,000 has been agreed by Aberdeenshire as their share of the next stage to stabilise abutments and the wingwalls of the crossing over the River North Esk.
Drivers had to detour along the A90 Dundee to Aberdeen dual carriageway during the closure.
Mr Carr added: “This is a key bridge for an awful lot of people in the Mearns.”
The authority is also still wrestling with future plans for the Abbeyton bridge crossing over the main east coast rail line near Fordoun, which had to be demolished in an emergency Christmas Day operation, after engineers condemned it due to safety fears.
It had been out of action since July but a row has broken out after the council was told by Transport Secretary Michael Matheson that bridge maintenance and replacement was a matter for individual authorities.