Moray Council is clamping down on lorry drivers who have damaged a rural bridge by flouting weight restriction rules.
Arthur’s Bridge, on the B9103 between Lossiemouth and Lhanbryde near Elgin, has been significantly weakened after HGV traffic continued to use the bridge illegally – and now needs a complete repair.
In the meantime, the local authority has imposed a tougher weight restriction for the bridge, with the maximum vehicle weight allowed reduced from 26 tonnes to 7.5 tonnes.
Officials say that a recent inspection has found defective joints on the structure.
A council spokeswoman said: “This degradation has resulted from a combination of the effects of time, along with continued overloading of the bridge which is regularly used illegally by HGV traffic well above the permitted weight.
“The deterioration is at a critical location and has significantly weakened the bridge.
“The defective joints are of a design which cannot readily be repaired and therefore the bridge deck will require complete replacement to permit a return to full traffic loading.
“There is no estimate of when this work is likely to be carried out.”
Meanwhile, the Craigellachie road bridge on the A941 Elgin to Dufftown road has reopened to allow normal two-way traffic to help with the transport of essential goods during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moray Council stated that the road bridge, which was built in 1970 and is in the midst of repairs, was opened with a temporary road surface on the southbound carriageway until concerns about maintaining proper social distancing for the workforce have been relaxed.
The council has almost finished its £1.8 million refurbishment of the busy bridge.
The local authority spokeswoman added: “The removal of restriction will ensure better flow on this critical route to facilitate the transport of essential goods during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“Once the current restrictions and social distancing requirements are no longer required, the contractor will return to remove the temporary surface and install the permanent surfacing.
“Due to the temporary surfacing and the absence of some road markings, the 30mph speed limit over the bridge will remain in force in the interim.
“The downstream footway also has a temporary surface, with pedestrians encouraged to use the completed upstream footway if they wish to walk over the bridge.”