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New active travel bridge linking Banff and Macduff to be progressed

By David Porter

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Councillors at the upcoming Banff and Buchan area committee on Tuesday will be asked to progress the proposal 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 - the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire - building on previous work undertaken and reflecting the desire for greater resilience in the vital link between the two coastal towns.

Among the study’s key aims was providing active and sustainable travel opportunities between Banff and Macduff, improving local accessibility and connectivity, helping to improve health and reduce emissions and enhancing a historic social connection between two communities

It will also improve the transport options available to those living and/or working in the two communities by encouraging a shift from car-based to active forms of transport by enabling walking and cycling as travel alternatives.

Indicative images were created to 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 1
Option 1

• 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 2
Option 2

• 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 3
Option 3

• 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.

Option 4
Option 4

The report before councillors says: "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.

It continues: "The report makes a strong case for an alignment downstream of the existing road bridge.

"This is for various reasons including visual impact on Duff House and the existing listed bridge, impact on the golf course, desire lines for people using the bridge, and minimizing the number of road crossings needed to access the bridge."

The public consultation demonstrated broad community support for the idea of an active travel bridge, and this supports previous work which the report says: " identified a general unease or feeling of being unsafe while crossing the Banff Bridge by foot or cycling due to the narrow carriageway and footways and the tendency for large vehicles to mount the pavement when passing each other."

Councillors will be asked to note the conclusions of the feasibility study on constructing an active Travel Bridge between Banff and Macduff; and

endorse the proposed approach to take the project forward including seeking external funding for the next stage of development.

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