EVERY avenue should be explored to ensure an early replacement or restoration of a vital bridge over the River Clyde.
That's the call from Clydesdale MP David Mundell following the sudden closure of the crossing linking the small village of Pettinain and Carstairs Junction.
Mr Mundell was contacted by Pettinain Community Council and a number of residents who face severe disruption to their lives and lengthy alternative routes because of the closure.
He has written to South Lanarkshire Council chief executive Lindsay Freeland seeking a full explanation of the apparent safety issues which led to the closure without any notice being given to local residents.
The MP states that as well as inconvenience to local people and many other essential road users, there were serious concerns about loss of emergency vehicle access and the bridge crossing's role as a diversionary route when accidents occur on other roads.
Mr Mundell asks: "I would be grateful to know what the council plans are for the bridge and its urgent repairs and the timescales involved."
With reports putting the cost of a replacement at around £3m, Mr Mundell this week called on the council to urgently explore every possible funding source to make safe the strategically important crossing.
He said: "I fully support the local ward councillors in their efforts to have the reopening of the route made a high priority at every level of government.
"The strong views and concerns of the community were made clear at a public meeting on Tuesday 4 September. They are seeking action, not words. A safe and secure bridge in operation at this crossing point must be a top priority.
"Everything should be looked at -- even the possibility of a temporary structure until a long-term solution is identified."