Users of Banff Bridge urged to give their views as work begins to determine its economic impact

Users of the Banff Bridge on the A98 are encouraged to take part in a survey assessing the effect it has on the local area.

An economic impact study is being carried out on the crossing over the River Deveron, as a route for trips between Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Inverness.

The information gathered will also consider the social impact of the bridge and help inform decisions on any future improvements.

The council’s Infrastructure Services Committee asked for the work last year and Aberdeenshire Council has now commissioned consultants AECOM to carry it out.

It follows on from a previous partial study in 2008 and will seek to gauge the extent of problems and issues experienced by those using the bridge.

It will also consider current concerns about the safety of the bridge for local access between Banff and Macduff for all traffic, including pedestrians and cyclists.

The impact of temporary restrictions or closures due to maintenance works, severe weather or road traffic incidents will also be taken into account.

An online survey has been set up and will run for six weeks from today. It can be accessed here: www.banffbridgesurvey.net

Drop in sessions in the local area are also planned, with details to follow.

Chairman of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, John Cox, said: “I would encourage as many users of the bridge as possible, not just residents of Banff and Macduff, to feed their opinions and experiences into this survey.

“It has been designed to understand the typical journeys people make using the bridge and their general experience of travelling on it, either as the driver of a vehicle, as a pedestrian or cyclist.

“This consultation will support the identification of potential improvement options for the bridge, providing short term reslience and a longer term solution.”

Vice chair Brian Topping said: “It is important to gauge the economic and social impact of this crossing on the local area so that the council can be well informed when considering any options for its future.

“I hope as many people as possible will take part, so that we can listen to their views.”

As part of the consultation exercise, a number of key local businesses which use and rely on the bridge on a daily basis will be directly contacted to find out how business interests may be affected by any changes to the bridge.

Following the consultation, the local community will be given the opportunity to feed back on the emerging outcomes of the exercise.

The results of the consultation will be reported to councillors as well as a range of potential options which will be identified for the future of the bridge, which may include a new or upgraded crossing, as well as the potential costs.

Banff Bridge is a seven-arched sandstone masonry structure which was designed by John Smeaton and built in 1779.

Spanning 125 metres, it forms part of a strategic link, carrying traffic from the A98 coastal road to the A96 to Elgin and Inverness.

Every day it sees around 12,000 vehicle movements and up to 180 pedestrians as the key link between Banff and Macduff.