>> 15 September 2016
Troup SNP councillor Ross Cassie has welcomed the next stage of the study looking at the economic impact of the A98 Banff Bridge and potential options for its future.
Locals and those travelling through the area had the chance to contribute to the economic impact study earlier this year, effectively assessing its importance, as well as current problems and opportunities.
In particular, the study looked at the crossing over the River Deveron as a route for strategic trips between Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Inverness.
It also considered the local impact of the bridge, and this will help inform decisions on any future improvements, management and maintenance.
As a next step, there will be a public drop-in session and exhibition on Wednesday 21 September from 4.00pm-8.00pm in the main hall at Banff Academy.
Exhibition boards will show key outcomes of the study, and members of the study team will be on hand to answer any questions.
The exhibition will: detail the feedback received during the survey; show how this information has been used; present a range of possible future options for Banff Bridge, alongside the anticipated advantages and disadvantages of each; and provide information on the economic impact of the bridge.
The exhibition is a chance for officers to ask if the community agrees with the key findings, which will be reported to local councillors in due course.
Commenting, Cllr Ross Cassie said:
“Its closure for any reason would have a significant impact on the local economy and is also an important link between the North-east corner and the Highland and Moray areas.
“The community were instrumental in the survey being carried out and are now to be involved in the next steps in shaping the way forward. This demonstrates that Aberdeenshire Council are involving the communities in decision making and as such direction of travel is being ‘done with the community’ and not ‘done to the community’."
The council’s Infrastructure Services Committee asked for the work last year and Aberdeenshire Council commissioned consultants AECOM to carry it out. It follows on from a previous partial study in 2008 and sought to gauge the extent of problems and issues experienced by those using the bridge.
It also considers current concerns about the safety of the bridge for local access between Banff and Macduff for all traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists. The impact of temporary restrictions or closures due to maintenance works, severe weather or road traffic incidents is also taken into account.
Banff Bridge is a seven-arched sandstone masonry structure designed by John Smeaton and built in 1779. Spanning 125 metres, it forms part of a strategic link, carrying traffic from the A98 coastal road to the A96 to Elgin and Inverness. Every day it sees around 12,000 vehicle movements and up to 180 pedestrians as the key link between Banff and Macduff.