A historic village bridge near First Minister Alex Salmond’s North East home has been closed for major repairs.
Strichen Bridge, which dates back to the mid-19th century, is in urgent need of restoration after Aberdeenshire Council discovered the structure had become dangerous.
The repair works are expected to last at least eight weeks and could force motorists to take lengthy diversions.
The local authority report revealed that parts of the B-list bridge were moving so much it was causing the masonry to bulge in several places and seriously crack.
Restorations began last week and the council hope to complete the work by April 28.
A council spokeman said: “In order to retain the bridge’s structural integrity and traffic-carrying ability, a thorough programme of remedial works is required.
“This will also ensure the bridge’s ongoing place as an active part in Aberdeenshire’s road network.
“The bulging in the walls indicates movement in the structure. The size and shape of the bulge with the associated separation of the masonry from that of the arch barrel, would suggest a significant amount of movement - and that movement is ongoing.”
SNP councillor for Central Buchan Lenny Pirie said: “Having lived in Strichen most of my life, I feel it is essential to carry out vital repairs and maintenanecs on this grand old bridge to preserve it for future generations.
“I realise it is going to be inconvenient for a lot of people due to its vital link with New Pitsligo and surrounding areas,but it is necessary that this work is carried out as safely and quickly as possible for everyones benefit.”
The bridge is the latest in a series of repairs and refurbishments in the Buchan village.
Aberdeenshire Council recently agreed to sell the listed town house building to a local community group for £1 for renovation.
And the Ritchie Hall in the village has also enjoyed refurbishment investment.