AFTER years of campaiging and tireless work by local volunteers, councillors agreed last week to re-open the Bervie Braes road and it is hoped this will take place in a matter of weeks.
The decision was made by members of Aberdeenshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee last Thursday, after they considered a number of options for the future of the route.
Under the new scheme, the road will open during summer months (April to October), with a weight limit of three tonnes, a 20mph speed limit and a one-way system running from Dunnottar Castle into Stonehaven.
Barriers will also be installed as an added safety measure on the road running down Bervie Braes.
The necessary steps will now be taken for the barrier units to be bought and installed on the road. Subject to delivery of the barriers, it is hoped that the road will be reopened within a matter of weeks. Further work will be carried out to formalise the arrangements and they will be carried out after the road closes again in October.
The road has been closed to vehicles for safety reasons following a major landslip on the Braes in 2009.
Committee chair, Councillor Jim Gifford, said: “The situation is different from before, when the slope slipped occasionally. We have intervened here.
The liability is now ours.”
Committee vice-chair, Councillor Martin Kitts-Hayes, said: “This council has demonstrated over the past few years its total commitment to Stonehaven, and in terms of economic development generally speaking.”
Frank Budd, of Stonehaven Town Partnership, told the committee: “Stonehaven is a real tourist town and the biggest attraction for tourists is the world famous Dunnottar Castle.
“We would like dearly that the main connection to a major attraction remains open all year round.”
Director of Infrastructure Services, Stephen Archer, told the committee that officers would continue to monitor and review the situation on the slopes.
Councillors asked for a report to go back to the committee at a future date to give an update on the impact on Bervie Braes of reopening the road.
They also agreed to earmark £300,000 from the current revenue monitoring forecast to fund the costs of the project.
To date there is no objective data on how regularly the road was used before it was closed. Once the road reopens, the council will monitor the usage of the road during summer months. Further work will also be carried out to assess the economic impact of the route on the town and the wider Aberdeenshire area.