Project to restore North Bridge enters key phase

A project to refurbish Edinburgh’s iconic North Bridge is set to enter a new phase, involving work to the road crossing it and to the underside of the bridge deck.

The City of Edinburgh Council’s £22m initiative, which began in summer 2018, aims to safeguard the long-term use of the Victorian Category A-listed bridge.

To allow the essential repairs and maintenance to take place, road restrictions will be required for the duration of this stage of the scheme, which is expected to last around 16 months.

Traffic management, which will be carried out in a series of phases and will begin on 17 February, has been developed with all road users in mind and ensures that footpaths and one lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained. As part of this, some of the bus stops on North Bridge will be temporarily moved, and the Council is working closely with bus companies to share on-street information about the nearest alternative stop.

Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “We have reached a crucial stage in the project to refurbish this historic bridge, which provides a vital transport link between the north and south of Edinburgh.

“Now, as the team prepares to carry out essential work on street level and below, it’s necessary that we introduce some road restrictions. We have worked closely with bus companies and the emergency services to ensure minimum disruption during this period and will continue to monitor traffic flow for the duration.”

Work to the top of the bridge includes relaying pavement slabs and kerbs, installing expansion joints, resurfacing and waterproofing repairs. Underneath the bridge, the team will be reconstructing secondary structures and carrying out repairs to the reinforced concrete bridge deck.

Last year, the contractor, Balfour Beatty, progressed the erection of a complex scaffolding structure, which is now complete and facilitating access to all parts of the bridge. To minimise disruption, all 300km of steel scaffold tube, connectors and boards were delivered to site overnight over a period of 18 months and installed with minimal disturbance to the public.

Specialist contractors are now in the process of restoring the structure’s cast iron works, which were installed in 1897 and were last repainted in 1990.

The North Bridge refurbishment upon completion will encompass:

  • 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.
  • Masonry repairs to the abutments and piers.
  • 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.

Find out more about the North Bridge refurbishment project online.

Published: February 7th 2020