Long-awaited work has started on a new bridge linking a small community near Ellon.
After almost 18 months without a bridge, Mill of Leask residents were delighted to see construction begin on a replacement this week.
The bridge was damaged after winter storms in 2012 before it was demolished in January last year.
Work on the new one is expected to be completed by Aberdeenshire Council by the end of July.
Mill of Leask resident, Dave Forbes said: “Talking to the team on site, the target remains to have the bridge completed by the end of July 2014, thereby fulfilling earlier undertakings given to the Leask residents – excellent news!
“The view of the residents I have heard from, which I completely share, is that the council starting work on the bridge is entirely welcome news, as this confirms that SEPA approval has been obtained, thus removing the last uncertainty concerning the implementation of the bridge project.
“Now we have to look forward to the commissioning of the new bridge.”
He added: “I have no doubt it will be fit for purpose – we expect it to be wider, stronger, and better able to cope with any future floods.
“We are looking for the bridge to be commissioned by the end of July.
“There may of course be some slippage if adverse weather is encountered, but we have waited a year and a half - another couple of weeks, would not be a fundamental issue in the larger scheme of things.”
After the council proposed to not replace the bridge last summer, residents responded with a letter, petition and their own economic assessment.
Last October, proposals for the new bridge were approved by Formartine Area Committee when councillors considered a report which suggested the construction of a bridge at an estimated cost of £150,000.
Ellon and District Councillor Rob Merson said he was very pleased to hear that construction had commenced on the replacement.
Councillor Merson said: “The local residents outlined the economic significance to the local community and presented a very convincing case for the reinstatement of what initially appeared to be a very little-used route.
“I am sure that they will welcome an end to the inconvenience which they have suffered during the time it has been out of commission.”