An urgent inspection into the condition of an Aberdeenshire bridge will be undertaken next week.
Sections of path beneath the Ellon Viaduct were forced to close last month due to the “serious risk” of masonry falling from the crossing.
The council sealed-off access to parts of the north and south banks of the River Ythan where they meet the structure in order to keep people safe.
Now, a week-long inspection into the condition of the arch brickwork at the viaduct is to be carried out from July 6.
A council spokesman said: “Due to the serious risk of falling masonry from the undersides of the arches of the bridge, Aberdeenshire Council was forced to close access to sections of the paths under the viaduct on both the north and south sides of the river Ythan back in May.
“Throughout the course of the inspection by the council’s structures team, this stretch of the Formartine and Buchan Way across the viaduct will remain closed to all users during daytime working hours, but will reopen during evening hours once equipment is relocated off-site.”
He added it was “absolutely vital” the condition of the viaduct be assessed as quickly as possible.
Work costing about £40,000 will also begin on the nearby Meiklemill Bridge on July 6.
The wooden bridge was severely damaged by Storm Frank in 2016.
Ellon and District councillor Isobel Davidson said the “very inconvenient” path closures would have an impact on locals who enjoy using them.
She said: “When the contract for the Meiklemill footbridge was awarded the work was planned for the school holidays and the timing will now be tight because the date for the restart of school has been brought forward by a week. There is no flexibility there.
“Concerns about the safety of Ellon Viaduct were not anticipated but the inspection is urgent to assess the condition of the structure.
“I know this is very inconvenient for residents, though the viaduct will be closed during working hours only.
“I hope the community understands the urgency of both projects.”
Meanwhile Gillian Owen, who has fought for the Meiklemill footbridge to be refurbished by the council, said: “It’s disappointing that both bridges will be out of action at the same time, however safety is paramount and the railway viaduct needs urgent investigation prior to any repair and as move out of the lockdown it is good that this is being done fairly quickly.
“As for the Meiklemill footbridge this has been in the capital plan for a few years and it is at the end of its life and as I have said previously I was delighted that this wasn’t a causality of Covid.
“I understand having them both out of action for the first week is trying but please be patient the end products will be worth it.”