Plans to refurbish Edinburgh's North Bridge

Edinburgh’s historic North Bridge is set to undergo a major programme of refurbishment, subject to committee approval.

A series of structural repairs will help safeguard the long-term use of the Grade A-listed bridge, built in 1896, as a vital city centre link between the Old and New Towns.

On Thursday, members of the Transport and Environment Committee will consider proposals for the £22m project, which would include steelwork repairs, repainting and repair of the cast iron façade and the replacement of joints across the bridge.

The project will benefit from £10m funding approved in the 2018/19 budget, set by Council on Thursday, 22 February, adding to an existing £12m allocated under the Capital Investment Programme 2018-2023. 

Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “This historic bridge is a familiar and much-loved focal point in the city centre, and it’s clear that it requires some much-needed restoration.

“I am delighted that, thanks to prudent financial management, we will be able to progress with a series of repairs, ensuring the longevity of this iconic structure.”

Inspections to North Bridge carried out in 2014 identified a number of defects, resulting 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.

A major contractor with experience of similar projects was engaged early in the process in light of the complexity of the scheme, which is due to the bridge’s location over a working railway station. The contractor was appointed through the National Civil Engineering and Infrastructure lot of the Scape Group Framework Agreement.

If the scope of refurbishment works is approved by Transport and Environment Committee, the contract to deliver this will be considered by Finance and Resources Committee for approval, with the refurbishment expected to begin in the summer.

On Thursday, members will also hear about the potential for additional enhancements to public realm on the bridge, such as widened and decluttered footpaths and carriageway resurfacing.  Outline design work is currently underway for these improvements, taking into account the principles of the Central Edinburgh Transformation Project, for which funding is yet to be identified. Final proposals will be reported back to Transport and Environment Committee.

Read the full report, North Bridge Refurbishment, on the Council website and watch the Transport and Environment Committee live via webcast from 10am on Thursday, 1 March.

Core Works to North Bridge

  • Structural steelwork repairs.
  • Grit blasting and repainting of the structural steelwork.
  • Repairs to the cast iron façades.
  • Grit blasting and repainting of the cast iron façades.
  • Repairs to the underside of the bridge’s concrete deck.
  • Improvements to the structural drainage systems.
  • Replacement of expansion joints.
  • Restoration of, and repairs to, the King's Own Scottish Borderers War Memorial (located on the east plinth of the bridge’s south pier).
  • Installation of permanent platforms to improve access provisions for future inspection and minor maintenance.
  • All temporary scaffolding required to access the structure.

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