Residents of a north-east village have had a reprieve from months of traffic misery after bridge repairs were completed almost a year ahead of schedule.
The Fordoun route, which runs between Station Road and Old Aberdeen road, was closed in November after an embankment on the footpath began to subside.
The impact was keenly felt by locals as it came as Aberdeenshire Council was forced to close and eventually demolish the Abbeyton Bridge to ensure it did not collapse on the railway line below.
Roads bosses had said the Fordoun route would be closed for 18 months, but it has now been re-opened to a single lane of traffic, with temporary lights installed.
The width has had to be reduced to protect the bridge, which is owned by Network Rail, after engineers discovered weak edge beams.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Mearns councillor George Carr said he was “delighted” the work has been completed ahead of schedule.
He said: “Councillors have been working hard with residents on this issue and held a public meeting in December where people got to air their views about how much inconvenience this closure was causing.
“Everybody deserves full credit for getting the work done in half the time it was due to take.”
There was uproar in the community last month when the council closed the Lower Powburn railway bridge in the village because a height restriction sign fell off it.
The authority initially said the route would be closed for three weeks, but later fast-tracked the repairs to minimise disruption.
The region has been racked with such problems, with many of its bridges dating back hundreds of years and not designed to cope with increasing levels of modern traffic.
Figures from the RAC Foundation previously revealed that 65 of the 1,800 bridges on the council’s roads are sub-standard – more than in any other Scottish region.
Aberdeenshire also came 10th in a UK-wide list.
Park Bridge, in Drumoak, was closed for 18 months in March after engineers deemed it was unsafe.
And Gairnshiel Bridge in Donside has had to be closed time and again over the past year because of structural damage, forcing drivers to take a 24-mile detour.
The authority plans to replace the bridge and close the existing one to traffic.