Balmaghie Community Council demands action to stop heavy vehicles from using historic bridge

Balmaghie Community Council is calling for action to protect pedestrians and old Brig o ‘Dee from heavy vehicles using it as an illegal shortcut.

He wants tractors towing trailers and heavy goods vehicles to stop flouting warning signs on the A-rated structure.

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

He is furious that the six-foot-six-inch width limit is being ignored and says the parapet and roadway regularly suffer 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 suspected damage to vehicles on the roadway was to blame.

He told the News: “The lady only crossed the bridge to take a look at the water with her husband. She took a step to the side and her foot sank into a hole in the sidewalk.

“She had fallen back and fell on his elbow. She was lying on her back when I joined her.

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

Mr Finlayson added: “If the tractors had not torn the slabs of the gangway, it would not have fallen. The damage was definitely 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 a skid steer loader stuck on the bridge trying to maneuver to pass.

“I knew he hit the bridge and grabbed a camera to try and take a picture.

“But when he saw me coming, he backed up up the road.

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

“If we hadn’t moved the stones, God knows what would have happened.

“The bridge is in fact a classified structure and it is a crime to damage it. The pavement has still not been repaired.

Following the incident, Mr. Finlayson enlisted the support of local councilor Jane Maitland.

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

“This is rated Grade A by Historic Environment Scotland and this incident follows many similar acts of negligent and stupid driving over the past two decades.

“If someone is careless enough to drive a tractor with equipment too large for this historic bridge infrastructure, could they damage a pedestrian? “

The council, owner of the bridge, and Historic Environment Scotland were invited to comment.

The bridge cuts two miles from the route between Rhonehouse and the nearby A75.

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About Mohammed B. Hale

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