A north-east council’s “rapidly-deteriorating” bridge network will cost at least £3.35 million to repair.
Earlier this year it was revealed Aberdeenshire Council was the worst local authority in Scotland when it comes to the number of bridges in need of maintenance, with a total of 65 bridges out of 1,800 in a substandard condition.
Now new figures released by the Tories have revealed the eye-watering bill the council faces to fix or replace its crumbling structures, many of which date back hundreds of years.
In an official response, the authority has confirmed the urgency of the situation it has found itself in.
Its reply to the party states: “Aberdeenshire Council would appreciate any additional support available.
“In terms of the bridge infrastructure we have suffered years of under-funding resulting in a rapidly deteriorating bridge stock which will not be able to meet the demands of the increasing traffic volume and loading in the coming years if left unchecked.”
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Many of the bridges were built before national standards came into force in 1922, with some dating as far back as the early 18th century.
Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West MSP, has called on the government to step in and offer financial support.
“These figures highlight the enormous scale of the task facing local authorities like Aberdeenshire,” he said.
“Many of these bridges were not built to withstand the volume, size and weight of modern traffic.
“Given several years of real terms cuts to funding from the SNP government, there is no way the local council can shoulder this cost.
“We have to be realistic about what can be done, but there will need to be more support from the Scottish Government.”
Research published by the RAC Foundation revealed Aberdeenshire was the worst in Scotland for the standard of its bridges, and the 10th worst in the UK.
There are 50 defective bridges in Perth and Kinross, and 39 in need of attention in each of the Highland Council and East Ayrshire regions.
The Scottish Government spokesperson has said the council is responsible for using its block grant where it is most needed.
A spokesman said: “Aberdeenshire Council will receive £480.6 million Scottish Government funding in 2019-20.
“Taken together with their decision to increase council tax by 3%, Aberdeenshire Council will have an additional £4.197 million to support services compared to 2018-19. This represents an increase of £23.3 million.”