Calls have been made for a north-east council to replace an ageing bridge which will soon be demolished.
Aberdeenshire roads bosses have decided to bulldoze the 169-year-old Abbeyton Bridge, which is near Fordoun, because of the danger it poses to the railway line below.
A one-way system had been in place to ease pressure on the structure but after detailed surveys the authority has decided to condemn it.
However the decision has sparked fresh fears the demolition will damage trade for local businesses, with a four-mile diversion now in place.
Andrew Bowie, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP, has been joined by local councillors George Carr and Jeff Hutchison in urging the council to take prompt action to replace it.
He said: “The diversions in place are a drag on business at a time when local companies already face significant challenges.
“However, safety must come first, and I fully understand the council’s decision to close the route altogether.
“I am writing to Aberdeenshire Council chief executive Jim Savege on behalf of my constituents to ask what happens now.”
Mr Carr and Mr Hutchison have both raised the importance of the Abbeyton Bridge with officers and highlighted the problems which have already resulted from its closure.
Mr Carr added: “This bridge is the main gateway to the Mearns villages and is the primary access to the industrial businesses located at Fordoun Aerodrome.”
One of the businesses which claims it will be hit hardest is the Castleton Farm Shop.
Anna Mitchell, store manager, predicted the closure would have “an effect on trade” as the closed junction is next to a sign advertising the business.
Donald MacPherson, the council’s structures manager, said repairs were “not an option” and a replacement bridge was the long-term goal.
He said: “Following structural inspections of the B966 Abbeyton Bridge, near Fordoun, it was closed at the end of last month in the interest of safety, for both road and railway users.
“We appreciate this decision impacts on road users and the nearby Castleton Farm Shop, but it has been taken purely in the interest of safety.
“We have been communicating with local businesses and are ensuring diversions are adequately signed.”