The Sparling Bridge was lifted off its abutments yesterday morning by a massive crane and parked in the Riverside Car Park, as part of on-going flood defence work in Newton Stewart.
The popular footpath between Minnigaff and Newton Stewart had been closed to the public since it was damaged in the December 2015 flood.
The height of the bridge was a contributory factor in the extent of the flood upstream and Dumfries and Galloway Council plan to raise the height of the bridge and reposition it to avoid a repeat incident.
A spokesman for Dumfries and Galloway Council said: “The Council’s Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure and other officers have met with Cree Valley Community Council. It was very much the view of the community council that the bridge should be removed before the winter, not immediately replaced at a higher level, and that that alternatives to replacing at a higher level be fully considered. The Council is currently looking at an option to relocate the bridge downstream of its former location at a level that would not be impacted by flood flows.
“The removal of Sparling Bridge relates to flood prevention solutions for Newton Stewart and the River Cree. As previously publicised, a series of planned works includes Sparling Bridge, which needs to be raised by 1.2m. Preliminary design work was completed and a pre-planning application submitted. Initially, it was expected that works would start in September/October 2016. The bridge has now been removed according to plan and split into 3 sections to facilitate removing it from the car park. Within a few days, it will be taken to Barnkirk depot, where it will be inspected and any necessary repairs carried out. The Council is exploring options relating to Sparling Bridge, including relocation.”