A Moray community has warned it will likely be the summer before a contract is awarded to replace a vital footbridge in the town.
The East Beach crossing in Lossiemouth has been shut since July last year due to safety fears after its 100-year-old structure buckled under the weight of sun seekers.
The Scottish Government has already pledged cash to replace the bridge as part of project that could cost up to £1 million.
Now Moray Council has published a notice to inform companies it will be inviting bids to design the new bridge in February.
However, it has also warned that it will likely be the summer before any contract is awarded for the project.
The notice also explains that a business plan for the bridge must also be approved before public money is released for the build.
It states: “Moray Council intends to commission a single contract to design and build a new footbridge to connect the town of Lossiemouth to the East Beach.
“This contract will be delivered in two stages.
“The first stage will include the development of a business case that will be used to secure funding for the bridge and an outline design of the preferred option, with sufficient detail to obtain planning and other statutory consents.
“Once funding has been secured, the second stage of the project will be completion of the detailed design and construction of the bridge.
“It should be noted that if funding cannot be secured then the second stage of this project will not be progressed.”