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Famous Scottish bridge reopens after refurbishment

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The ports operator, which declared the specialist works ensure the bridge is “protected for the future”, noted repairs have been made to the two pedestrian walkways and the central carriageway. It added that the refurbishment included replacing the existing timber decking, steel work repairs and a full repair and repaint of the blue bridge’s metalwork.

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The official reopening was marked with a “walk-over procession and a colourful community flag parade”, Forth Ports noted.

Victoria Swing Bridge was designed by Alexander Rendel and opened in 1874 to provide an “efficient road and railway route” for the port following the completion of construction of Albert Dock in 1869, Forth Ports noted.

The Herald:

 

It added: “The bridge was originally B listed but was upgraded to an A listing in 2014. It is constructed of riveted wrought iron, timber and steel and originally carried a double rail track along its central deck, providing access for both trains and road vehicles, and features pedestrian walkways on either side.”

Stuart Wallace, group chief executive designate at Forth Ports, said: “It is fantastic to be at the reopening of the Victoria Swing Bridge, which is an important landmark for the community in Leith. The bridge work is just one part of the exciting ongoing regeneration activity in Leith, of which we are proud to be part.”

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Forth Ports said: “The reopening of the Victoria Swing Bridge, coupled with the refurbishments and reopening of the Rennie’s Isle Bridge last year by Teuchters Landing, ensure that the people of Leith have better access around the local shore area. Further work will continue next year on the Victoria Swing Bridge with the refurbishment of the timber-decked turning circles. This work will not impact on access for people crossing the bridge.”

The Herald:

The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in the mid-1990s, Forth Ports noted.

Victoria Swing Bridge is owned by Forth Ports and is listed as category A by Historic Environment Scotland as a structure of national importance.

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Forth Ports said of the bridge: “Its girders, with an overall length of 212 feet and clear span of 120 feet, are made of wrought iron and the clear roadway width is 24 feet. The gross weight is 620 tons, including 60 tons of timber and 240 tons of kentledge counterweight which was, but is no longer, lifted and easily turned by means of hydraulic rams operated by the hydraulic power station [that was previously] located adjacent on the bank of the Alexandra Dry Dock.

“Its clear span is said to have been the largest of any swing bridge in the United Kingdom until the opening of Kincardine Bridge in 1937.”

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