Brunel’s Balmoral Bridge set for repairs


An historic Deeside Bridge will be closed for several months over the winter to allow work to strengthen and improve it.

The Balmoral Bridge, close to the Queen’s Deeside holiday home, will close on October 8 and is scheduled to reopen at the start of February 2015.

The work is essential to its long term future and will be carried out no matter the weather at a cost of around £450,000.

The integrity of the bridge will be secured by replacing its deck, exchanging aged timber for reinforced concrete, without altering the historic elements of the structure.

The current deck has been in place and subject to the elements for 35 years and its replacement should last far longer.

The bridge will also be repainted to protect it.

The next available vehicular crossing over the Dee is at Ballater, meaning a total diversion of around 14 miles for those living on and around the Balmoral Estate.

The pedestrian suspension bridge slightly downriver of the Balmoral Bridge, itself a grade A-listed structure dating to 1834, will remain open for local walkers.

The South Deeside Road between Ballater and Balmoral will be gritted and cleared during wintry conditions.

Aberdeenshire Council’s head of roads and landscape services, Philip McKay, said: “We do offer our apologies for any difficulty caused.

‘‘Doing this work on the bridge in winter should cause less disruption but, as locals will know, the weather may affect the overall length of the project.

‘‘Scale of the improvements should ensure the future of the bridge for a long time to come and will hopefully mean less inconvenience to road users in the long term.”

The council has secured planning permission for the works and consent from Historic Scotland.

All vehicles heading to and from the A93 across the River Dee at Balmoral will be diverted via Ballater Bridge and along the South Deeside Road.

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Balmoral Bridge was constructed in 1857 for Prince Albert.

It is a category-A listed heritage structure which carries the B976 South Deeside Road over the River Dee near to Balmoral Castle.