Aberdeenshire Council is considering banning cars on a north-east crossing.
Park Bridge was closed to vehicles in February 2019 after a number of serious defects were noticed during a routine inspection.
Since the A-listed structure was shut, the two communities of Durris and Drumoak on either side of the River Dee have had their direct link cut off and have been forced to undergo a hefty eight-mile diversion.
Now, the council is consulting on closing Park Bridge to cars, much to the dismay of local residents who fear the move will be permanent.
The Park Bridge Action Group (PBAG) was formed to not only promote bringing the bridge back into use but to also protect the surrounding area.
When contacted they said they were “extremely disappointed” and that the consultation had opened without the group being informed.
They added: “In spite of all the communication and meetings that have taken place over recent months, locals learned about the consultation from the P&J.”
PBAG spokeswoman Anne Shearer added: “We understood from Aberdeenshire Council that when the temporary closure order on Park Bridge ran out on September 5, a temporary prohibition to vehicles order would be raised until the future of the bridge had been determined and that this could be rescinded.
“However, a recent email from Aberdeenshire Council’s legal department states that this closure will be permanent.
“We are advising all our supporters to object to the closure during the consultation, which runs until September 5.”
“The details of how to object are on our Facebook page and we would urge anyone who has concerns about the closure of the bridge to object as this is the only way the council will hear us.”
The proposed car ban has been arranged, according to the notice, as “Aberdeenshire Council is satisfied it is necessary in the interests of public safety to close the C35K Park Bridge, Drumoak, to motor vehicles due to critical element deterioration which has rendered the bridge unsafe.”
It is one of a number of ageing bridges that form part of Aberdeenshire Council’s huge roads network.
A number are in need of extensive and hugely costly repairs. The council has said in a number of cases that it does not have the funds to enable works to take place.
Last night, the council explained that temporary traffic orders can be deployed quickly to deal with urgent situations – but must be replaced with another type of order if the restriction is required for more than 18 months.
This point has been reached for Park Bridge and the new order “does not rule out any options for the future of the bridge.”
A spokeswoman added: “Progressing the traffic order was approved by Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee on June 9 and a report on options for the long-term future of the bridge is expected to be considered by the committee later in the year.”