The world’s first reinforced plastic bridge could be permanently closed unless £15,000 can be found to repair it, it is feared.
The Aberfeldy community is preparing to fight to save the innovative structure, which was erected at the local golf course in 1995 as an access route to nine new holes.
The bridge is due to close on Friday over health and safety fears, with the golf club running a nine-hole course for the next two years.
However it is hoped that the community will be able to take over the running of the vital route and bring it back into use through funding grants.
Local businessman Henry Murdoch, who lives near the bridge, said that if the span became a community asset it would open new funding options for them, such as the Griffin wind farm community fund.
He said: “It’s a bridge that gets used more by non-golfers than golfers.
“The golf club is pretty low on cash and it suits them not to have the bridge open as they will only have to run nine holes, rather than 18 holes.
“It’s not us against them, it’s how we can work together to save the bridge. The people of Aberfeldy do not want to lose this asset.
“My fear is that as soon as it’s officially closed then the £15,000 they are quoting to repair will become a lot more expensive as it’s not maintained over the next two years.
“It’s one thing getting it fixed, but we need to keep it open and running.
“The golf club own the bridge but what we have said to them is if they were willing to hand the bridge over to a body within the community they could try and save it.”
Tony Walsh, of Aberfeldy golf club, said: “We believe the bridge is unsafe and has been for a while. We believe it’s better for the public, and for the golf course in terms of liability, to close it while it is inspected.
“It’s a unique plastic structure and to inspect it is quite complex.
“We would like to work with the community to see if the bridge can be shared with them rather than the golf club having full liability.”
Extending the course from nine holes to 18 cost around £300,000, with the bridge alone costing £120,000.
The 63-metre bridge was designed by Dundee University’s Civil Engineering Department and Maunsell Structural Plastics Ltd, and built by students.