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169-year-old Scottish bridge set for demolition

Abbeyton bridge credit evening express www.eveningexpress.co.uk 3to2

Aberdeenshire Council has had to immediately close a 169-year-old road bridge due to “significant” structural defects, which poses a “danger” to the rail line beneath it.

The council is now in favour of demolishing the bridge which runs over a section of railway on the line between Dundee and Aberdeen. However, locals have taken to the streets to campaign against the demolition. 

Aberdeenshire Council bridges manager Donald MacPherson told New Civil Engineer that the two-lane bridge had been closed to traffic and was being monitored for further deterioration pending its demolition.

MacPherson confirmed that the Abbeyton bridge near Fordoun was heavily skewed and that there was “very little chance” it could be repaired. He said that the ribbed elliptical masonry arched bridge made it an extremely complicated structure to work on.

“The live load of the traffic has been removed as it’s been completely closed, and we’re continuing to monitor the bridge,” he said. “We’re now formulating a strategy due to the significant structural defects we’ve found, with a view to taking forward appropriate action.”

He said that despite some alterations made in the 1960s, the bridge was principally the same structure that was built 169 years ago.

“It was built as part of the original railway and although it’s been modified, its principally the original structure,” he said. “It has internal spandrel walls and they carry a deck. The deck used to be stone slabs, but it’s now a reinforced concrete deck with a concrete infill above. The sandstone ribs are original and quite unique and quite impressive as well.”

He added: “Unfortunately repair is not an option, so we are seeking to demolish it at the earliest opportunity, minimising disruption to the railway, with a view to replacement in the longer term.”

The bridge spans over the railway and it has been reported that locals are concerned about the 6.5km detour to get across the tracks to local businesses and homes on the northern side of the line. 

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “We are aware of the condition of the structure and are liaising with the council as they work to resolve the issue.”

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