A Moray community already facing a five-year wait for a bridge to be repaired is now facing another two years of delays.
The Foths Burn crossing south of Elgin, near Birnie, was shut in November last year after “significant” movement was detected in the stonework.
Locals had been informed it would not be until 2024 that repairs could be done to reopen the road between the Glenlossie Distillery and Birnie Inn.
However, now Moray Council has warned it may now be 2026 due to work on Arthur’s Bridge near Lossiemouth being considered a greater priority.
The crossing on the B9103 Lhanbryde road had limits imposed on it this year after being weakened by HGVs ignoring weight restrictions, causing the structure to need a full repair.
Yesterday Moray MP Douglas Ross called the added delay for Birnie residents “a disgrace”.
Jim Mountford, chairman of Heldon Community Council, said: “We were devastated when we were initially told it would take five years to fix, obviously we think the sooner the better.
“It’s been a huge inconvenience for people living there trying to get to Elgin. The other bridge may be busier but the people using Foths Burn see it as more important to them.”
In a report, Moray Council officers explained the quicker than expected deterioration of the Arthur’s Bridge crossing means its repairs must be pulled forward by three years to 2024 at the expense of Foths Burn.
The revised schedule of bridge repairs is expected to be confirmed at a meeting of the authority’s emergency cabinet tomorrow.
Mr Ross said: “This is a disgrace from the council. They seem oblivious to the concerns from the local community.
“They need to answer why this area is deemed a lower priority for them than other parts of Moray. It is simply not good enough.”