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Repair work starts on historic north-east bridge

By David Porter

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Repair work is now underway on the Victoria Bridge
Repair work is now underway on the Victoria Bridge

Specialist teams have begun the intricate task of repairing Mar Lodge’s historic Victoria Bridge, a lattice girder bridge built in 1905 over the River Dee.

Owned by conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland, the Mar Lodge Estate is one of the most important areas for nature conservation in the British Isles and in 2017 it was awarded National Nature Reserve status – making it the largest NNR in the UK.

Repairs to the category B listed bridge are expected to take up to 17 weeks, with the entire structure being dismantled and taken off-site, piece by piece.

Planning around the removal, and reinstatement of the bridge has been made even more challenging due to the delicate landscape where the bridge is located, particularly the protection of the waters of the River Dee.

The full £900k cost of the repairs are being generously supported by income from an endowment provided by the National Lottery heritage Fund.

The work includes new cast iron sections which will be installed to replace sections that have fallen into disrepair, structural repair to the bridge piers, and repainting the entire structure.

This conservation work will see the bridge repaired and restored to its former glory, allowing members of the public to make full use of the crossing.

With work now underway, the bridge will be closed to pedestrians, cyclists, horses and vehicles until December 21.

The nearest alternative crossing to access Mar Lodge Estate is at the Linn of Dee bridge, three miles west of Victoria Bridge.

David Frew, operations manager at Mar Lodge Estate National Nature Reserve, said: “Victoria Bridge is a crossing place which the team at Mar Lodge Estate, locals, hillwalkers, cyclists and equestrian riders all make great use of.

"During storm Frank in 2015 many homes, businesses and landscapes were affected, and our historic white bridge suffered structural damage.

“At the Trust we take care of, maintain and protect our properties and landscapes, so that visitors can explore the places we love.

"The repairs would have not been possible without the extremely generous support we’ve received at Mar Lodge Estate from the endowment provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

“We appreciate the public’s patience, support and understanding while works are underway, and apologise for any inconvenience caused during the 17-week period.

"We’re really looking forward to welcoming visitors back to the bridge in December.”

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