Edinburgh crime: Leith's Victoria Swing Bridge closed to pedestrians after break in disrupts refurbishment works

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Refurbishment work is currently underway to restore the bridge to its former glory.

A historic Leith bridge has been closed to pedestrians, after vandals broke in and caused disruption to major refurbishment work.

Following the break-in at the sealed works area of the Victoria Swing Bridge on Tuesday evening, contractors and Forth Ports, which owns the Port of Leith estate, said they have taken the decision to close the bridge temporarily for safety reasons. The bridge which is currently undergoing phased restoration works will now be shut to pedestrians until painting work is completed later this year, expected to be the end of October.

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A spokesperson from Forth Ports said: “Unfortunately the contractor’s sealed works area on the Victoria Swing Bridge in Leith has been broken into and vandalised. The A-listed bridge is currently being shot blasted and painted as part of its refurbishment by Forth Ports. To ensure the safety of the site and those working on the project, the contractors and Forth Ports have closed the pedestrian walkway until the painting works are completed later this year; we expect these works to be finalised around the end of October. Pedestrians can still walk around the bridge using Ocean Drive. The break-in has been reported to Police Scotland.”

Work is underway to restore the historic bridge
Photo: Save Our Shore, LeithWork is underway to restore the historic bridge
Photo: Save Our Shore, Leith
Work is underway to restore the historic bridge Photo: Save Our Shore, Leith

The Category A listed local landmark which was built between 1871 and 1874, is the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland. It had been left to fall into poor condition in recent years, and in 2020 was put on a list of historic structures under threat.

Forth Ports are completing a phased programme of restoration works, including fully refurbishing the northern and southern walkways, re-decking the central carriageway, repairing and repainting the metalwork, and replacing the decked turning circle areas. The second phase has faced delays.

The 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 Albert Dock in 1869.

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A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “We received a report that people had gained access to Victoria bridge on Wednesday, 6 September. Officers attended and equipment on the bridge has been damaged and enquiries are ongoing. There is no damage to the structure itself.”