Extra time has been given to find the money needed to repair the Cloddach Bridge near Elgin.
The local community is pinning their hopes on wind farm cash.
The crossing over the River Lossie south of the town was closed to traffic in February 2022 after being used by vehicles heavier than safety restrictions.
Hopes for repairs to the bridge or a replacement were raised when the UK Government offered £1.5 million towards the project.
The money will only pay for about half the bill with no indication initially of where the rest would come from.
Moray Council was expected to rule out spending any more money on the bridge as the deadline to use the government cash gets closer.
However, an extension has now been granted as the community pins its hopes on saving the Cloddach Bridge on securing money from a wind farm fund.
Extra time for Cloddach Bridge community
Moray Council was only granted permission to push back the deadline to use the UK Government cash late on October 3.
It means officials now have until June next year to submit a business case for repairing or replacing the crossing, which remains open to only pedestrians and cyclists.
Any hopes in saving the Cloddach Bridge, which was built in 1905, now rest on Heldon Community Council’s application for money from Fred. Olsen Renewables’ fund from its Rothes wind farm.
A decision is expected to be made about their application on October 17 with councillors due to reconvene the following week to decide whether to continue efforts to use the
Council leader Kathleen Robertson said talks were also continuing with both UK and Scottish governments about securing more investment.
She added: “Making a decision now pre-empts any decision made against the community council being able to achieve funding.
“Therefore Heldon Community Council has requested in the strongest possible terms to give them this extension.”
Concerns were raised by council officers the extension could lead to “compressions and compromises” in drawing up plans to repair or replace the bridge.
Has Cloddach Bridge skipped the queue for repairs?
Moray Council has classed Cloddach as “standard-low” in its bridge prioritision list.
Concerns persist that the crossing has jumped up the queue in getting attention after getting a mention in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget speech.
Earlier this year the council set aside £1.5 million for the project to match the UK Government’s support, but stressed that it was not a commitment to spend the money.
Buckie SNP councillor John Stuart feared the council’s finances would be stretched by finding the £187,000 needed for a business case for the bridge, which wouldn’t be covered by the UK Government.
And SNP group co-leader Graham Leadbitter raised concerns about the council’s priorities being set by the UK Government.
He said: “We are essentially dancing on the head of a pin because the chancellor stood up and said there would be £1.5 million to fix the bridge.
“Given the financial circumstances we are in, I do find it a bit difficult we are being dictated to.”