A historic bridge that is Category A listed and located in Leith, Scotland, is to benefit from necessary repairs. Constructed between 1871 and 1874 at the port of Leith to connect two sides of the facility, the 36.6m span bridge is a rare remaining example of a 19th century counterweighted swing bridge, one of very few in Scotland.
The bridge originally carried rail traffic but then carried motor vehicles as transport trends shifted. Motor vehicles now use a more modern bridge that opened in the mid-1990s. The historic structure has remained in use by pedestrians and cycle traffic, both of which have increased considerably since the port area became gentrified and the location for many upmarket new homes. However, there has been concern that structure has not benefited from sufficient maintenance in recent years and the bridge was added to the Buildings at Risk register in 2018. There is greater appreciation in present times of the importance of historic industrial architecture as well as the need for the preservation of prime examples of construction.
The bridge is made from riveted wrought iron, timber and steel and its swing mechanise is hydraulic. The work will include repairs and maintenance of the metalwork, extensive maintenance and repairs to the northern and southern walkways and new decking for the central carriage way. It will also include replacing the decked turning circle areas. The work will be carried out in stages and although the cost has not been revealed, it has been said it will be a ‘six figure sum’.