Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee has agreed to keep the Cloddach Bridge closed to vehicles but open to pedestrians and cyclists, while monitoring its condition.
When the bridge deteriorates further the route will be closed and the bridge will be removed.
The committee has offered to work with the community to find an alternative funding stream if they wish to pursue the renewal of the bridge.
Previous reports to committee have shown the full cost to replace the bridge to allow vehicle access again would be around £3 million.
Cloddach Bridge was built in 1905 with an estimated lifespan of between 100 and 120 years, after which it would require significant refurbishment or replacement.
This bridge is located on the C2E road near Birnie and a traffic survey undertaken in 2020 showed the average number of vehicles crossing the bridge each day was less than 800.
Following numerous restrictive measures the condition of the bridge deteriorated, due to non-compliance with these measures, to the point it was closed in the interest of public safety in February 2022.
Chair of the Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr Marc Macrae, said after the meeting:
“We appreciate this will be disappointing news for local residents who used the bridge regularly.
“However, we have to take the responsible action to avoid a financial burden the council simply can’t shoulder at this time.
“We also need to consider public safety, which is ultimately why this bridge had to close in the first place.
“Unfortunately, the lack of compliance with the restrictive measures the council installed in 2001, 2019 and 2021 shortened the lifespan of the bridge further.
“Although, it was coming to the end of its expected shelf-life anyway.
“Combined with the low number of vehicles using the route, we cannot justify upgrading it to a priority route.
“We have the option to review today’s decision in the future and I commit to working with the community to identify alternative funding options.”
Full details of all options considered can be found in the committee papers here.