A north-east landmark has been returned to its former glory, three years after it was devastated by Storm Frank.
The B-listed Dee Bridge at Ballater, which connects the community to the B976 South Deeside Road, was bombarded with debris including tree trunks and caravans after the severe weather battered the area in December 2015.
Melting snow and incessant rain caused the Dee to burst its banks and the ensuing deluge, combined with water coming off flooded fields, caused major damage to 307 homes and 60 businesses in Ballater.
Aberdeenshire Council announced yesterday that the £450,000 refurbishment and repair of the important crossing point, known as the “Royal Bridge”, was complete after 13 weeks of painstaking work.
An encapsulated access scaffold had covered the bridge for some time, allowing proper cleaning of the structure as part of its refurbishment, important for its longevity.
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Loose and decayed mortar was removed from the masonry before it was re-pointed, and the bridge’s deck has been fully resurfaced.
The project had to take place in the summer, not only because lower water levels make access easier, but also to minimise disruption to the salmon in the River Dee below.
While not ideal for the local tourist industry, or locals looking to access Glen Muick, the bridge repairs mean it has been strengthened and improved, hopefully minimising closures in future.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, Peter Argyle, said: “Clearly it’s been some time since the initial damage was sustained, but I know engineers have been working through a backlog of damage to structures and roads since Storm Frank, giving priority to those at greatest risk.
“As a local councillor I am delighted to see the bridge looking so good.
“The work done has given us a strengthened and handsome crossing which should serve the local community for many years to come.”
The bridge was opened in 1885 by Queen Victoria who stated that that it should be called “The Royal Bridge”.