NORTH-EAST politicians have called on the SNP Scottish Government to fund a backlog of 60 “broken bridges” after a £545 million boost to Holyrood’s coffers.
Local MP Andrew Bowie says road infrastructure is going “out of commission” faster than Aberdeenshire Council can fix on current budgets, with recent storms adding to its woes.
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It would cost an estimated £5.1m every year for two decades to fix the backlog –around 360% of its allocated budget.
But just five of nine local applications to Scotland’s £32 million Local Bridge Maintenance Fund were successful this year, leaving the likes of Park Bridge between Durris and Drumoak shut after four years.
On a visit to Aboyne Bridge, closed since Storm Babet, the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP said:
“There is a massive infrastructure backlog across Aberdeenshire which has worsened because of sustained underfunding by the SNP Scottish government.
“As a result of the UK Chancellor’s Autumn statement, the Scottish Government will receive an extra £545m.
“Storms like Babet and Arwen before it made sure that bridges are going out of commission faster than the council can budget to fix them. Aboyne here needs a new concrete deck to reopen. Lower North Water Bridge at St Cyrus is still being repaired.
“Getting to work, seeing friends and family and having access to our beautiful countryside – these are all basic issues which are important to people living in the north east.
“I urge the Scottish Government to open its purse to get our broken bridges fixed – along with a host of others which are closed or are teetering on the brink.”
Mr Bowie’s Scottish Conservative MSP colleague Alexander Burnett has asked Ministers to detail additional support for Aberdeenshire.
In a letter to Transport Secretary Mairi McAllan, Mr Burnett said:
“Aboyne Bridge has been closed for the foreseeable future after a recent structural investigation revealed concerns over its condition.
“This is yet another bridge to the list of the over 60 bridges across Aberdeenshire that are closed or at risk of closure…
“It is all too clear that there is a significant lack of funding to support infrastructure services. Aberdeenshire Council has been given just £1.7m despite asking for £6.2m to repair bridges across the region.”