Holyrood row over bridge cash

Park Bridge near Drumoak has been closed since February. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council
Park Bridge near Drumoak has been closed since February. Picture: Aberdeenshire Council

MSPs have heard that an Aberdeenshire community will remain “divided” unless the Scottish Government stumps up the cash for bridge repairs.

Residents of Drumoak and Durris have been unable to use Park Bridge over the Dee since February due to wear and tear.

Aberdeenshire Council is unable to fund a replacement or repair because its total bridges budget is only £1.4 million — against a repair bill of £1.7 million for one bridge.

Local MSP Alexander Burnett challenged Transport Secretary Michael Matheson at Holyrood to provide funding for the community, who have explored crowdfunding their own repairs.

The Aberdeenshire West Scottish Conservative said there is “no hope in sight” along the riverbank.

But Mr Matheson said the responsibility for the bridge lies with “Tory-led Aberdeenshire Council” and refused to give additional money.

Mr Burnett said: “Residents in Drumoak and Durris are still facing huge issues with getting Park Bridge re-opened.

“This has left a community divided - leaving residents, school children, businesses and families all affected with no hope in sight.

“They are now looking at crowdfunding in order to restore the bridge to traffic.

Mr Matheson said: “We do not stipulate how local authorities should utilise allocations.

“It is his colleagues in Tory-led Aberdeenshire Council who are responsible for the bridge and getting the bridge repaired.”

Mr Burnett said after the question: “I was very disappointed on behalf of my constituents that the cabinet secretary turned them down flat.”

“Regardless of the rosette on the council administration, there is no council money for the maintenance backlog in our bridge and road network.”