Work to repair a Moray bridge shut following a crash will get started next month.
Foths Bridge, near Birnie, south of Elgin, was badly damaged in a hit-and-run in November 2019.
Originally, Moray Council told locals – who face a diversion along a single-track, heavily potholed road – that they would be unable to fix the structure before 2024/25 due to budget pressures.
But now the local authority has confirmed the £100,000 repairs will get started on October 4.
Geo-Structural Ltd is expected to take four to five weeks to carry out the repairs, depending on the weather.
While construction work is ongoing, the stretch will be closed to pedestrians, and a diversion will be in place.
‘Residents have been frustrated’
Moray MP Douglas Ross welcomed the works and said: “I’m pleased that work will start next month to repair the bridge which provides a vital connection for our rural communities.
“When I met on-site with local residents following the closure, the importance of this route was made clear by the large numbers who attended.
“The bridge was damaged way back in 2019 and having lobbied this issue since then alongside my colleague councillor Marc Macrae, I welcome the fact that a date has finally been set for the works to commence, but it should never have taken this long.
“Local residents have rightly been frustrated by the delays, and Moray Council should have treated this road as a far greater priority than they have.”
Mr Macrae added: “Following the closure, along with local residents, I was very disappointed that budgetary pressures meant that it was unlikely the council would undertake any repair works for some considerable time.
“We look forward to the bridge and the road reopening.”
Council leader and chairman of the council’s economic growth, housing and environmental sustainability committee, Graham Leadbitter, said: “Given the length of time the bridge has been out of commission this will be welcome news in the community.
“Committee brought the funding to complete this work forward from 2024 to this year, as we understood the importance of this link. I’m pleased to note the work should be finished in a relatively short space of time.”