A £1.8million refurbishment of a busy Moray Bridge is to begin next week.
Craigellachie Bridge is part of the A941 and crosses the River Spey near Aberlour.
It was reduced to one lane when a temporary repair was carried out in spring, after an inspection by Moray Council engineers found damage to the bearings underneath the structure.
Now a contractor has been appointed, major works will get under way, running from October 21 2019 until March 7 2020.
During the refurbishment the bridge bearings will be replaced, repairs will be made to the carriageway before it gets resurfaced, handrails will be upgraded, and the footpath will be upgraded with new kerbs and resurfaced.
Traffic lights will be in operation for the duration of the works, which will see traffic reduced to one lane, but they will be taken down between December 21 2019 and January 6 2020.
Moray Council’s chairman of Economic Development and Infrastructure, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, said the upgrading works were vital.
He said: “Craigellachie Bridge forms an important part of a strategic route through Moray for businesses, residents and visitors. The work to the bridge is a significant piece of essential maintenance. There will be some delays during the works, but I am sure motorists will appreciate the complex nature of the project and the long-term reliability benefits that the upgrade will deliver.”
Speyside and Glenlivet Councillor Louise Laing said: “It is good news that this getting fixed. It needs to be done. That bridge is used by lorries, tourists, everyone. It is important for the whisky trade. The A95 nearby is very busy and is the main route from Aviemore going to Elgin.
“It will take a bit longer for children from Rothes attending Aberlour High School to get to school, but it could be a lot worse. One lane will remain open, there could have been a long diversion.
“This is a better time of year to do the work, at least the tourist season has dropped a bit.”
In April, a report compiled by council engineers graded 72 of the 375 crossings the authority is responsible for as either “very poor” or “poor”.
Councillors agreed a maintenance programme to fix damaged and worn structures across the region, including committing to spending nearly £2million on the new Craigellachie Bridge.
The RAC Foundation ranked the region as having the ninth-worst total of substandard bridges in Scotland during 2017/18.
The A941 Craigellachie road bridge was built in 1970 as a replacement for the iconic Craigellachie Bridge which is a category A listed structure.