A study has been launched to explore options for a new bridge to be built between Banff and Macduff.
The crossing is being considered to give walkers and cyclists a safer route to cross the River Deveron.
The current Banff Bridge, a seven-arch stone structure, was widened on both sides in 1881 but pavements on it remain narrow.
Funded by Nestrans, the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire, the new study will build on previous work undertaken to improve links between both towns.
The main objective is for consultants AECOM to provide information on the best location for the new crossing over the river.
This will help the council apply for funding from external bodies.
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, Councillor Peter Argyle, who is also vice-chairman of the Nestrans board, said: “This is a very important study which will directly engage with both current and potential users and community representatives to develop and design options which meet the needs of everyone.
“We are very much aiming to improve connectivity between Banff and Macduff for the benefit of both coastal communities.”
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The Banff Bridge carries the main coastal road between Inverness and Aberdeen over the waterway.
Public consultations will be held giving residents the opportunity to engage with the project team and provide feedback on the key issues and opportunities associated with a new active travel bridge.
Views on all aspects of the study will be welcomed and encouraged by the study team as the work progresses.
The committee vice-chairman, Banff councillor John Cox, who is also a Nestrans board member, said: “It is important to stress that this study is not about the existing Banff Bridge – it’s about creating an entirely new crossing which we would seek to build with external funding.
“The creation of such a crossing would provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy healthy active travel between Banff and Macduff for years to come.”
Previous studies have recommended building a new road bridge to replace the current crossing on the back of concerns it was not designed to cope with large volumes of traffic.
However, it was estimated that this would cost about £50 million and could not be funded.
It has since been suggested that a new foot and cycle bridge be built so residents and tourists can enjoy the area without having to use the current narrow bridge.