The misery for fed-up Mearns motorists has eased slightly after a local road reopened ahead of schedule.
Abbeyton Bridge, in Fordoun, had to be demolished at Christmas amid fears the structure would collapse on the railway line below.
Meanwhile the railway station bridge had to be closed in November after inspections revealed further damage to an embankment following the demolition of a nearby house, pushing more traffic on to the roads around the school.
The road was closed due to footway subsidence and repairs were expected to last for 18 months.
The closed road section was on the C3K between Station Road and Old Aberdeen Road which has now reopened.
It is now reduced to a single lane operation with temporary traffic lights in place.
Councillor Peter Argyle, Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee chairman, said: “It is great news that this road has reopened sooner than initially anticipated.
“I would like to thank residents and businesses for their patience whilst the works were being completed and commend the council’s engineers and our partners on ensuring the road reopened sooner than planned.”
The reopening of the road will allow residents travelling on the B966 to better access the local area around the town of Fordoun without diversion.
The council is working to complete various road works in the Fordoun area.
The repairs completed on the C3K are not associated with any work being carried out on Abbeyton Bridge which was demolished in December to prevent its collapse onto the East Coast Main Line railway below.
Aberdeenshire Council has said no decision has been made on whether or not Abbeyton Bridge should be replaced but Mearns councillors are backing a new structure being put in place.
The Abbeyton Bridge A90-B966 diversion resulted in traffic doubling back for two miles in either direction.
Drivers established that by using the C3K road they would avoid the need to double back which resulted in an increase of traffic travelling through Fordoun.
Committee vice chairman John Cox, said: “Decisions to close roads are never taken lightly, as they can cause disruption to local communities.
“However, the council has an important duty to ensure motorists are as safe as possible on Aberdeenshire’s roads.
“Anyone who is aware of a road maintained by the council that needs repairing is encouraged to report it to the council as soon as possible.”
A host of Aberdeenshire bridges are in dire need of repair, or radical overhaul in the case of some built as far back as the 18th Century.
The authority has been racked with such problems across the region, with many of its bridges dating back hundreds of years and not designed to cope with the increasing levels of modern traffic.
Figures from the RAC Foundation revealed 65 of the 1,800 bridges on the council’s roads are sub-standard – more than in any other Scottish region.