North Bridge refurbishment project

In March 2019, the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to invest £22m in refurbishing Edinburgh's North Bridge.

The project was allocated £12m in the Capital Investment Programme 2018-23. A further £10m was allocated as part of the Council's 2018/19 budget.

Inspections to North Bridge carried out in 2014 identified many defects. These resulted in the removal of loose material and installation of netting to make the underside of the bridge safe. Assessments have confirmed that there has been no impact on the bridge's load carrying capacity. Balfour Beatty has been appointed to carry out the refurbishment works.

We don't expect to cause any significant disruption to the public as the works are taking place beneath the bridge. The parapets next to the footpaths will be painted and this will need temporary hoardings to be erected for as short a duration as possible.

Changes

The works to North Bridge include

  • repairing, grit blasting and repainting structural steelwork
  • repairing, grit blasting and repainting cast iron fa├žades
  • repairing the underside of the bridge's concrete deck
  • improving the structural drainage systems
  • replacing expansion joints
  • restoring and repairing the King's Own Scottish Borderers War Memorial located on the east plinth of the bridge's south pier
  • installing permanent platforms to improve access provisions for future inspection and minor maintenance
  • all temporary scaffolding required to access the structure.

Benefits

The benefits of refurbishing the North Bridge include

  • restoring and maintaining the historic and vital link for current and future generations
  • installing permanent platforms within the bridge structure to improve access provisions for future maintenance
  • community benefits are an essential part of the project delivery, one of the main elements being education via engagement with, for example, schools and universities. There are also opportunities being provided by the contractor for placements and career support in the development of young people.

Timetable

The works are expected to be complete in late 2020 subject to finalising the extent of repairs required, which can only be found out once the full access scaffolding is in place.

History of North Bridge

The North Bridge was constructed over the period 1894-97 by Sir William Arrol. They were also the contractor responsible for the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge.

The last major remedial works were undertaken in 1933. Later in the early 1990's painting was undertaken to decorative facings and new parapets were installed with decorative covers of spheroidal cast iron.

The bridge is Grade A listed and situated in the Edinburgh World Heritage Site.

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