One of the most historic bridges on Donside has been closed over fears the nationally important grade A listed landmark could be in danger of collapse after recent severe weather.
Yesterday, locals said cracks had appeared in the arched roadway of the 183-year-old Bridge of Keig, with a visible bulge threatening to dislodge part of the parapet above.
Aberdeenshire Council’s website confirmed the road will remain closed until further notice “due to danger of bridge collapse.”
A council spokesman said the extent was still being assessed.
“The bridge has been damaged by freeze-and-thawing to the area above its arch,” he said.
This has caused bulging of the side walls and cracks in the road surface.”
A Historic Scotland spokesman said some structural movement had been detected in the bridge and ways of stabilising the structure were being looked at with council engineers.
“As the bridge is nationally important, we would want to ensure any work would not harm the bridge’s significance.”
A local resident said last night: “We were notified through the village primary school that no traffic would be allowed over the bridge, which provides a popular shortcut to traffic and a scenic local walk.”
Barricades have now been erected across the B992 Whitehouse-Keig road on both sides of the bridge.
The 101ft bridge is one of the longest single-span granite structures in Scotland, and was designed by renowned architect Thomas Telford. It was built by local mason William Minto, who is buried at Alford.
Aberdeenshire Council said the bridge would remain closed to all traffic, including emergency services vehicles, until further notice. Local residents said they had been warned to keep children away from the bridge.
“I was turned back when I was walking my dog as usual and told no pedestrians were being allowed across because the bridge was unsound,” said one man. Diversion signs have been put in place at nearby junctions.
Local road users, including school buses, are now having to use a detour via Montgarrie Bridge several miles upstream. It was rebuilt by Aberdeenshire Council two years ago at a cost of £733,000 after fears for its safety.