Councillors express renewed support for new Banff and Macduff active travel bridge
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Councillors at the Banff and Buchan area committee have today (Tuesday) expressed their further support for plans for a new active travel bridge linking Banff and Macduff.
Aberdeenshire Council proposed four design options for a new active travel bridge crossing over the River Deveron at Banff for pedestrians and cyclists.
In 2019 Aberdeenshire Council commissioned a study to explore options for a new crossing at the River Deveron between Banff and Macduff and held a public consultation in November last year.
The study by consultants AECOM has been funded and supported by Nestrans building on previous work undertaken and reflecting the desire for greater resilience in the vital link between the two coastal towns.
Discussion at the meeting saw Active Travel officer Robert McGregor provide an update as the plans now move forward.
He explained: "Our objective is to take forward an active travel bridge as there is significant funds available for active travel - the Zeitgeist term for such projects, and this is funding which is not available for road enhancements that don't lead to greater walking or cycling.
"It is an opportunity to enhance connections through external and alternative funding which is limited to walking and cycling."
Councillor John Cox said: "We have to clarify to the public that the funding for this footbridge cannot be used for a new road bridge.
"Clearly the upstream location is not favoured and would cause issues for a new road bridge.
"We must focus on the downstream options, recognising the technical aspects of the design, and that those shown are now fairly old and only indicative.
"What we need is an iconic construction, not a bland grey concrete one that in itself will be a tourism draw such as the Falkirk Wheel and I would like to think that we have the opportunity to do so.
"It is also worth noting that this is external money and not from council funds."
Mr McGregor replied: "I agree that the visual potential of this bridge is definitely there and that the more that we can develop that in terms of the design, the more opportunity we will have to win funding for it."
Councillor Glen Reynolds said: "This has been a long and difficult journey to get to even this stage on what is an exciting project and the public need to be aware that the road bridge, while a landmark has issues for the 21st century.
"I welcome this study going forward but would ask that members are kept in the loop over any decisions made during the summer recess.
"There must also be public input in the design stage."
Indicative images show a broad idea of each of the four proposals.
• Option 1 is a cable-stayed bridge proposal to the north of the existing Banff Bridge and would be slightly curved at its central point towards the existing bridge. A single tower would support the structure.
• Option 2 is constructed of marine timber and is again located to the north of the existing Banff Bridge. This option would cross in a straight line. There are multiple supports with this option, and the initial intention is that these would align with the supports of the existing Banff Bridge.
• Option 3 is a downstream bridge constructed of concrete with arches similar to those of the existing Banff Bridge, though the design finish would be considerably different to that of the historic structure. This bridge is slightly further north than options 1 and 2 making for a longer bridge, but shorter overall journey for pedestrians and cyclists. This option will extend from the Coop on the western side of the river to the former car park on the eastern side.
• Option 4 is a concrete structure to the south of the existing bridge. This option has open arches, again acknowledging the design of the existing structure though aesthetically looking quite different.
The report before councillors said: "While the report does include – and a public consultation sought views on – different types of bridge structure and their visual impact, the project is not at the stage of selecting a bridge type or design.
"This will be determined in the next stage of detailed design and is subject to further in-depth technical assessments.