The first steps towards replacing a busy and historic footbridge on the Moray coast have been made.
Lossiemouth’s East Beach crossing was closed in July due to fears it was on the brink of collapse, leaving many traders concerned about the impact on their trade.
Moray Council said that while full tender documents for the project were still currently being prepared, the prequalification part of the tender was now published on the Scottish Government’s procurement website yesterday.
It is understood that the weight of beach-goers and shoppers during the hottest days of the year in July caused some of the structure to buckle under the strain.
Tourism Secretary Fiona Hyslop lasy year pledged Scottish Government support to funding the replacement, which may eventually cost up to £1million.
Local MSP Richard Lochhead MSP said: “When the famous footbridge at Lossiemouth was suddenly closed, it was a major setback for the town, particularly for local people who used the East Beach on a daily basis, but also for businesses who rely on people visiting the area.
“I know that people in Lossie are really keen for access to the iconic East Beach as soon as possible, and the fact that we now have a timetable for tendering and appointing a contractor to build the new bridge, is a big step forward that will hopefully give comfort to the local community that plans are now progressing.”
Prequalification is where companies interested in submitting a tender for the works are required to demonstrate they meet the criteria.
After the prequalification submissions have been assessed, the top five companies will be invited to tender for the works.
It is anticipated that the tender process will be completed by June 2020, after which the contract will be awarded.
The council’s best estimate is that the new footbridge will be complete by summer 2021.