A north-east MP has suggested that the British Army could be tasked with erecting a temporary crossing for cars and light vehicles affected by the closure of the Abbeyton Bridge in Aberdeenshire.
The local council has agreed that the 169-year-old crossing, on the B966 just south of Fordoun, is to be demolished. It was first closed in July after inspectors found major failings in the structure.
Local businesses have voiced concern about the impact of the closure, while there are concerns that any replacement could take several years to build.
West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Andrew Bowie has now written to the Minister for the Armed Forces, Mark Lancaster, asking about the “feasibility” of a short-term fix.
Mr Bowie said that a temporary crossing would maintain a “vital link” for local business, keep local residents connected and help reduce the risk of accidents.
The British Army carried out a similar role in the west of Aberdeenshire in the flooding that followed Storm Frank in 2015.
In his letter, Mr Bowie said: “It is clear to me that in the interests of public safety that a replacement bridge must be erected as soon as possible.
“I was wondering if it would be possible for the Army to examine the feasibility of establishing a temporary crossing for cars and light vehicles, as it did for the villages that saw similar bridges and access points disrupted in the floods of 2015.
“This would reduce the chances of accidents on the A90, in Fordoun and maintaining a vital link to the main road for local businesses.
“It would also be a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the soft power capability of the Army in a part of the country which has, at present, little contact with the Armed Forces.
“I would be grateful for your advice on how this could be best achieved.”