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Bridge almost destroyed by Storm Frank narrowly avoids disaster in Storm Alex

Cambus O'May Bridge on Saturday after serious flooding.
Cambus O'May Bridge on Saturday after serious flooding.

A 115-year-old bridge severely damaged by 2015 flooding was almost submerged again at the weekend due to the impact of Storm Alex.

Cambus O’May Bridge, near Ballater, was smashed apart by the rushing waters of the River Dee when it rose so high during Storm Frank the river engulfed the walkway of the famous Deeside crossing.

Ballater flooding – the Cambus o May bridge is badly damaged in the Storm Frank flood in 2015.

The cast-iron structure, which first opened in 1905, has been closed off to the public ever since.

But over this summer, and thanks to financial support from the Duke of Rothesay and the local community, work has been carried out by Aberdeenshire Council to restore the crossing to its former glory.

But the repair project was placed in great peril over the course of the weekend, as the Dee once again burst its banks and rose dangerously close to the underside of the structure on Saturday.

Thankfully, the only damage caused by the high water levels was minimal buckling to some of the scaffolding contractors are using to carry out their refurbishment of the bridge.

The waters have since receded back to relatively normal levels in the aftermath of the storm, and the work resumed at the site yesterday.

Donald MacPherson, structures manager for Aberdeenshire Council, said the authority will be carefully assessing the region’s bridges for damage this week.

He said: “Over the weekend we have kept a keen eye on water levels across all of the water courses and rivers in Aberdeenshire and the team will be out this to assess bridges across Aberdeenshire to ensure that there is no serious damage to any of our bridges.

“Thankfully the rise in the water level of the River Dee was such that the Cambus O’May Bridge was not further damaged.”

Yesterday Aberdeenshire Council’s chief executive Jim Savege commended the efforts of residents and council staff in keeping the region’s communities safe during the weekend of stormy weather.

He said: “Our teams continue to go the extra mile to help protect our communities, working alongside our local resilience partners, assessing risk, monitoring issues throughout the night and liaising with contractors.

“Communities have really pulled together too and this all helps to mitigate against the impact of these unprecedented weather events.”

Meanwhile in Aberdeen, heavy rainfall from Storm Alex at the weekend put a dampener on a campaign to restore the 80-year-old, B-listed Bon Accord Baths to their former glory.

Bon Accord Baths Open Day. Gathered are Save Bon Accord Baths volunteers. Picture by Kath Flannery

The Bon Accord Heritage group has been working hard on plans to bring the baths back to use for the community.

But the severe weather over the weekend caused even more damage to the crumbling site, potentially jeopardising the repair project.

The conservation group now aims to install a system to allow safe working at height at the baths, in order to clear drainage channels and “prevent further water ingress and damage to the pool hall”.

Last month, the heritage organisation invited the public in for a doors open day to see what the art deco building looks like today.

Around 800 people attended to see inside the property for the first time in 12 years.

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