Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell has welcomed the conditional decision by Crown Estate Scotland to repair and reopen the closed Gallaberry Bridge, near Lockerbie for pedestrian use.
The news was confirmed at a virtual meeting including the landowner’s director of property Oster Milambo, Mr Mundell and local community campaigner and walking enthusiast George Trudt.
The metal and timber structure spanning the Dryfe Water at Maxwell’s Thorn north-west of the town was designated unsafe due to flood damage in spring 2022.
Mr Mundell wrote and held discussions with Crown Estate Scotland to highlight the local concerns about the prolonged closure of the bridge.
In a letter to the MP, Mr Milambo states: “A significant amount of background work has been required to establish and review options and to inform decision-making.
“However, having carefully considered the legal and business cases for reinstatement of the bridge and the strong local interest in restoring pedestrian access, Crown Estate Scotland has concluded that there is a case to restore the bridge to a 7.5 tonne vehicular capacity.
“This will allow pedestrian access, but heavier farm machinery will still be required to use a longer route.”
Subject to there being no increase in estimated costs, Crown Estate Scotland state they hope repair work on the flood-damaged bridge could begin next spring although point out there is no legal requirement for them to do so.
Mr Mundell said: “Whilst it is disappointing the crossing will not be reopened to vehicular and heavier farm traffic because of the high costs, the compromise plan by Crown Estate Scotland is a significant step forward.
“The route is valued by walkers, cyclists and horse riders, has been appreciated by generations of local people and I’m grateful the landowner listened to the community concerns.”
Mr Trudt stated he was encouraged Crown Estate had also shown an interest in the wider local paths network, adding: “They recognise the importance of the paths to people in the community for getting continued enjoyment from the great outdoors.
“We are not there yet but there is at least a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel or should I say bridge!”