£160k Sustrans funding approved for Banff and Macduff bridge project

Lucy JohnstonNews

From Aberdeenshire Council

Plans for the construction of a new active travel bridge crossing at Banff for pedestrians and cyclists have taken a massive step forward.

Aberdeenshire Council’s successful bid for £160,000 of Sustrans grant funding will enable the authority to develop initial design work on the proposed crossing.

Early last year, Aberdeenshire Council commissioned a study to explore options for a new crossing at the River Deveron between Banff and Macduff.

The study by consultants AECOM was funded and supported by Nestrans – the regional transport partnership for Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire – building on previous work undertaken and reflecting the desire for greater resilience in the vital link between the two coastal towns.

Among the study’s key aims was to provide active and sustainable travel opportunities between Banff and Macduff, improving local accessibility and connectivity, helping to improve health and reduce emissions and enhancing a historic social connection between two communities

It will also improve the transport options available to those living and/or working in the two communities by encouraging a shift from car-based to active forms of transport by enabling walking and cycling as travel alternatives.

As part of the consultation exercise the community was given the opportunity to access information about the four proposals and provide views and feedback on the key issues and opportunities associated with a new active travel bridge.

Cllr John Crawley, chair of both the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee and NESTRANS, said: “This is very exciting news for the communities of Banff and Macduff as the creation of a new crossing will provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy healthy active travel between the towns in the future.

“It is testimony to the significant preparatory work undertaken by AECOM and our own officers over a number of years and, of course, the very welcome funding support of Nestrans and Sustrans is helping to make it a reality. We will now begin in-house design work for the structure which will allow us to progress the selection of a single preferred option.”

ISC vice-chair Cllr Isobel Davidson added: “This is a significant vote of confidence in the proposal for a new active travel bridge across the Deveron. The Sustrans selection process is highly rigorous and it is terrific to see a project in the north-east of Scotland being supported in this way. Active travel is one of the council’s priorities and we will continue to work to make walking wheeling and cycling a safer and more attractive option for everyone in our towns and villages.”

The options for the crossing featured in the consultation included:

Option 1 is a cable-stayed bridge proposal to the north of the existing Banff Bridge and would be slightly curved at its central point towards the existing bridge. A single tower would support the structure.

Option 2 is constructed of marine timber and is again located to the north of the existing Banff Bridge. This option would cross in a straight line. There are multiple supports with this option, and the initial intention is that these would align with the supports of the existing Banff Bridge.

Option 3 is a downstream bridge constructed of concrete with arches similar to those of the existing Banff Bridge, though the design finish would be considerably different to that of the historic structure. This bridge is slightly further north than options 1 and 2 making for a longer bridge, but shorter overall journey for pedestrians and cyclists. This option will extend from the Coop on the western side of the river to the former car park on the eastern side.

Option 4 is a concrete structure to the south of the existing bridge. This option has open arches, again acknowledging the design of the existing structure though aesthetically looking quite different.