Bridges in Angus – Damage, Assessment and Repair

Published on Thursday 23 November 2023

The widespread damage to Angus infrastructure is still being fully assessed, with the process of gathering and assessing detailed and accurate information on its full impact ongoing.

Angus Council is working closely with a number of organisations in this regard, Scottish Government and Sepa among them.

A number of bridges were badly damaged in this extreme weather event.

Brechin Bridge sustained serious damage that will prove challenging to repair.

The most recent inspection found that the central pier has suffered minor damage to its stonework and the north pier (Brechin side) has sustained significant damage by water erosion.

To repair this, a coffer dam (a dry, watertight area) will have to be constructed around the north pier for what will be a lengthy work programme.

With the onset of winter and river levels still high, not date has so far been confirmed for this work, but we will confirm dates and further details as soon as they have been set.

This is a major route and the bridge’s closure understandably causes inconvenience and frustration. This work will be prioritised as soon as it is safe to do so.

As of now the bridge must remain closed as it is weakened and unsafe.

For diversion to Arbroath - please use the A935 to Montrose then the A92 to Arbroath. Other routes are not recommended as, for safety reasons, our official diversions are always for the same or higher classification of carriageway. Other routes are not suitable for heavy vehicles or heavy traffic volume.

Bridge of Dun has also suffered serious damage but should be more straightforward to repair. Work for this is now out to tender.

The Bridge of Dun is built with relief arches that are designed to cope with some levels of flooding.

But in the extreme flooding caused by Storm Babet, the southern relief arch has been undermined by water volume to such an extent that it has collapsed, taking the road above with it. Both will need to be rebuilt.

The North relief arch was also undermined. Intermediate repairs have been done to reduce any further damage and further work will be needed.

While it is a bigger job than the repair to Brechin Bridge, it is more straightforward because, at normal river levels, both arches are set on land and not in water.

We are currently in the process of securing a contractor for this work and will have clear timescales once this is done.

However, some further ground investigation will still be needed to provide an even more accurate picture of the damage as water levels, hopefully, drop.

Work to Arrat Bridge ensured that the Polar Express Experience was saved.

The Arrat Bridge on the A935, which is currently the main route out of Brechin to Montrose/Arbroath, was hit by a car, causing damage to parapet stonework.

The bridge was untouched by the floods as it doesn’t cross a river, instead it spans the Brechin Caledonian Railway line, which launched The Polar ExpressTM  train ride experience at the weekend.

With the parapet in peril, the ability to use the railway line was in serious doubt. But, by working closely together, Brechin Caledonian Railway and Angus Council found a work around to make sure the Christmas highlight can safely run.

Jon Gill, Chairman of Brechin Caledonian said: “The Polar ExpressTM train ride, as well as delivering a fantastic, magical experience for our visitors from across Scotland and beyond, is vital for our ongoing financial stability, so the stakes could not have been higher. I’m delighted that by working closely with Angus Council, we’ve managed to ensure that we can run this experience and deliver a bit of Christmas cheer after the awful floods that recently hit the area.”

“We experienced severe flooding ourselves and our team has worked so hard to make sure that we could deliver this event. It would have been doubly heart-breaking to have to cancel and disappoint so many people, so I am very grateful to have the Council’s support.”

Cllr Mark McDonald, Communities Convener said, “Despite all of the challenges that we currently face with our roads and bridges, it's great that we have a good working relationship with the Caledonian Railway and by working together we found a solution to what could have been a significant issue. 

“The railway is a key tourist attraction and we as a council were determined to help them run this fantastic experience.

“If any good can come from the recent devastating floods, it will be from closer cooperation and collaboration, because it’s only by working closely together that we will rebuild Brechin and indeed Angus.”

As a result of the recent accident, traffic management controls will be in place to protect the damaged bridge and allow the repairs to be made. However, this should only last a few days depending, of course, on the weather.

Justinhaugh Bridge has re-opened.

Embankment stabilisation work has been completed and the bridge and access roads are fully open. Some fencing work will be required but this will be undertaken under temporary traffic management systems.