Plans to replace a 170-year-old Aberdeenshire bridge could be put on hold as the council has argued there is no financial incentive to progress the work.
Abbeyton Bridge, which carried the B966 Fettercairn to Fordoun road across the railway line two miles north-east of Fordoun, was closed off to all traffic two years ago.
The sudden move came after a routine inspection by Aberdeenshire Council discovered that the structure was at risk of crumbling onto the tracks beneath.
With the potential for the local authority to be liable for compensatory payments of between £1 million and £3m a day if falling masonry closed the railway line, council bosses agreed to demolish it over Christmas in 2018.
Since then, work has been under way to investigate the possibility of building a replacement.
The regional transport body Nestrans has awarded the council £750,000 of the expected £1.5m replacement cost for the Abbeyton Bridge.
However, councillors at next week’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee are being urged to agree that no further work will be undertaken until “such time as a viable funding approach is identified”.
A report by the council’s infrastructure services director Stephen Archer says that, under the authority’s prioritisation plan for fixing its many damaged historic bridges, Abbeyton ranks at 25th in line for replacement.
Mr Archer’s report said: “Given the pressure on the budget, exacerbated by the Covid-19 response, and the likely impact of predicted climate change on our existing bridges stock – as well as unforeseen events – it is unlikely in the near term that Abbeyton would meet the criteria sufficiently to be awarded funding.
“Therefore the only viable alternative is some form of external funding.
“While there is a clearly expressed desire on the part of the local community to see Abbeyton Bridge reinstated, the traffic levels and impact on the surrounding area of the link no longer being there does not justify the level of investment required.
“In other words, there is no technical or economic business case to progress the project.”
Elsewhere in Aberdeenshire, works to replace the Meiklemill footbridge in Ellon will commence on Monday, July 6.
The existing 45-year-old timber stricture will be demolished and replaced with a new steel and timber crossing, providing an important route across the River Ythan between Meiklemill primary school and Gordon Park.