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Joy for campaigners as eight-year fight for replacement for crumbling 18th century Gairnshiel Bridge is approved

Gairnshiel Bridge in Aberdeenshire has frequently been shut, causing lengthy diversions.
Gairnshiel Bridge in Aberdeenshire has frequently been shut, causing lengthy diversions.

An eight-year campaign to replace a crumbling 18th century bridge linking Moray and Aberdeenshire has finally succeeded.

Gairnshiel Bridge was built in 1749, just three years after the Battle of Culloden, for horses and carts.

It has been plagued for years by closures caused by damage from modern traffic.

While it is shut for repairs, the quickest route from Ballater and Braemar to Tomintoul via the A939 Old Military Road is made inaccessible, leaving motorists facing lengthy diversions between Aberdeenshire and Moray via Strathdon instead.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Strathdon councillor Geva Blackett has campaigned for eight-and-a-half years to get the A-listed bridge replaced, and yesterday at a meeting of the Cairngorm National Park Authority (CNPA) her efforts finally proved fruitful.

The new £2.5 million structure has been designed by Aberdeenshire Council to fit in with the surroundings, and will be located to the east of the existing crossing.

The 1749 bridge will be preserved as it is, for cyclists and those on foot.

Mrs Blackett, who plans to bake a cake to celebrate the opening of the new bridge, said: “This wonderful structure will still be accessible for non-motorised vehicles but will no longer have huge lorries and buses trying to get over.

“I am so happy that all the work that has been put in, not just by me, has paid off.”

Fellow Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside councillor Peter Argyle, added: “A lot of work went into the designs, and I would like to thank everyone who has taken this forward.”

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