Options on new bridge across the Deveron to be explored
A study has been commissioned to explore options for a new active travel bridge crossing the River Deveron between Banff and Macduff.
It is being led by Aberdeenshire Council working with Nestrans – the transport partnership for Aberdeenshire and the wider north-east area.
The local authority has commissioned AECOM to carry out the study, which will build upon previous ones undertaken in 2008 and 2016.
Its aim is to outline the options around creating a link that improves separation between the vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians that use the current historic bridge over the river.
In the study briefing consultant Jo Duck said: "The ultimate objective of the study is to provide sufficient information to allow Aberdeenshire Council to make a decision in respect to the location of a new active travel connection between the two towns and understand in greater detail how such a link would operate over its lifetime.
"There will be opportunities to feed in to the study at key points in the programme, including as part of a public exhibition event that will be organised to obtain feedback on options that are developed."
A number of tasks will be carried out which include a review of previous work and relevant policies and guidance at national, regional and local level; assessment of crossing location options and a stakeholder engagement to introduce the study and gather feedback on the key issues.
This will then lead to public exhibition events in Banff and Macduff to obtain feedback on the options that have been developed; an option appraisal, in accordance with Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance; and finally a detailed report will be produced setting out the study process, option appraisal and final recommendations.
Banff and District councillor Glen Reynolds, who is chairman of the town's development partnership, welcomed the study and hope it goes further than previous ones.
He said: "I am pleased that progress is being made on the options surrounding the historic bridge and moreover, sustaining the vital link between Banff and Macduff and indeed up and beyond along the entire east coast.
"The bridge is a massive business gateway to the whole of the region. This issue and the report will have economic implications way beyond the local area and addresses many concerns and questions that the public raise to me on an almost daily basis.
"There is a sense of 'déjà vu' here as there has been a public consultation before and I really hope that this exercise carries with it a political will and determination to confront the matter that will clearly impact upon generations to come.
"First and foremost, we must ensure that the right partnership consultations take place to ensure that the capital funds are in place to resource this. That is not the case at the moment.
"This study is a good first step to reaching the ultimate goal of consideration by the public as to the when, where and how, of the detail surrounding the traffic and pedestrianisation options over and beyond the bridge.
"The future must incorporate measures that are well maintained, safely and effectively and in the context of climate change and the increasing risk of flooding.
"I look forward to the public consultation and will do all I can to ensure that people are listened to and that action is progressed.
"This must not be a "talked at" consultation, but one in which the public historic anxiety over this, is taken on board and acted upon."