Community council wants heavy vehicless to stop using historic bridge

Balmaghie Community Council is demanding action to protect pedestrians and the Old Brig o’ Dee from heavy vehicles using it as an unlawful shortcut.

It wants tractors towing trailers and HGVs to stop flouting warning signs at the A-listed structure.

Member Ian Finlayson, who lives beside the bridge, has been delegated to lead the campaign.

He is furious the six-foot-six width limit is being ignored and claims the parapet and pavement suffer regular damage from vehicles too wide for the narrow roadway.

Last Thursday evening Mr Finlayson ran to help a woman who had broken her arm in a fall on the bridge – and suspects vehicle damage to the pavement was to blame.

He told the News: “The lady only walked over the bridge to have a look at the water with her husband. She stepped to the side and her foot went into a hole in the pavement.

“She had fallen backwards and came down on her elbow. She was lying on her back when I got to her.

“I got something to tie her arm up and my partner Esther Burman took her down to A&E. The lady, who I believe is from the Sunderland area, is awaiting an operation in hospital.”

Mr Finlayson added: “If the tractors were not tearing up the walkway slabs she would not have fallen. The damage definitely was not there the day before.”

Mr Finlayson witnessed another incident on May 11 in which the bridge was badly damaged.

He said: “Esther and I were working in the garden when we heard this huge bang.

“We saw a tractor and low loader stuck at the bridge and trying to manoeuvre to get through.

“I knew it had hit the bridge and a grabbed a camera to try and get a photo.

“But when he saw me coming he slammed it into reverse back up the road.

“There were big stones lying across the road and I had to stop the traffic.

“If we had not shifted the stones God knows what would have happened.

“The bridge is actually a listed structure and it is an offence to damage it. The pavement still hasn’t been repaired.”

Following the incident, Mr Finlayson won backing from local councillor Jane Maitland.

In an email to council officials, Councillor Maitland said: “The community is deeply upset by this damage to the bridge, and frankly, I am appalled.

“This is listed grade A by Historic Environment Scotland and this incident follows many similar acts of off-handed, stupid driving in the past two decades.

“If someone is careless enough to drive a tractor with equipment too wide for this historic bridge infrastructure, might they do damage to a pedestrian?”

The council, which owns the bridge, and Historic Environment Scotland were asked for a comment.

The bridge cuts two miles off the journey between Rhonehouse and the nearby A75.

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