A ageing north-east bridge, which threatens a major railway line, will be demolished in the interest of safety.
Abbeyton Bridge, on the B966 just north of Fordoun, was shut in July after inspections found serious failings in the 170-year-old bridge.
Councillors have now agreed emergency measures to undertake the demolition using specialist contractors.
Should monitoring equipment indicate further deterioration and it becomes necessary to carry out an emergency closure of the East Coast Main Line, costs to the council could be around £1-3 million per day to cover disruption to the railway services using the line.
The cost of the demolition alone is expected to be in the region of £1 million, more than one third of the council’s £2.8m annual budget for bridges and other structures.
This will delay planned works on other bridges and structures around Aberdeenshire, which may deteriorate further in the interim.
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At this time no decision has been taken as to whether or not the bridge should be replaced.
The council’s main focus is on carrying out the works necessary to protect the safety of road and rail users.
ISC chairman Peter Argyle said: “The costs associated with an unplanned closure of the line are huge and the only way to remove the risk is to remove the bridge, as it cannot be repaired.
“Under normal circumstances, this work would take two years to plan but this was considered to be unacceptable and early appointment of a contractor experienced in this field, with existing Network Rail approval, has been critical in moving this project forward.
“We appreciate this decision impacts on road users and the nearby Castleton Farm Shop, but it has been taken purely in the interest of safety and to avoid the potential issues caused by an emergency closure of the railway line.”