New bridge between Banff & Macduff?

Views sought on proposed new active travel bridge linking Banff and Macduff

A public consultation has begun into four design options for a new active travel bridge crossing at Banff for pedestrians and cyclists.

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 has been 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 is providing 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 will be able to use an online forum 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.

The consultation runs until November 30 and is available on the Engage Aberdeenshire website.

  • 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.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Services Committee and vice-chair of Nestrans, Cllr Peter Argyle, said

I am delighted to see the four impressive design options being revealed for the first time and would strongly encourage the communities of Banff and Macduff to engage with us during the consultation period to ensure this active travel bridge is developed to meet the needs of everyone.

The creation of a completely new crossing would provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists to enjoy healthy active travel between Banff and Macduff for years to come.

ISC vice-chair and Banff councillor, John Cox, added

This study and the valuable feedback from the community consultation will enable Aberdeenshire Council to make a decision in respect of the location of this new connection between the two towns and help provide the basis for bids to external funding bodies to make it a reality.

This is an opportunity to complement the work in establishing a complete link along the Banffshire Coast from Speyside through Moray to Buchan. Of course, the consultation should not be confused between the debate of a footbridge versus a new road bridge. The road bridge forms part of other considerations with regards to its condition and impact should it become unusable for vehicles.

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