Edinburgh's North Bridge date announced for reopening to two-way traffic after 18 months of works
Edinburgh’s North Bridge will soon reopen to two-way traffic after the completion of essential work on its concrete deck, last replaced in the 1930s. The bridge has been closed to northbound traffic since November 2021 to allow for specialist work, involving the demolition and replacement of a large section of the deck, waterproofing and resurfacing, as part of the major North Bridge Refurbishment Project. Two-way running traffic will return from April 21 – though the footpath on the west side of the bridge will remain closed for the time being.
Transport and environment convener, councillor Scott Arthur, said: “The reopening of North Bridge to two-way traffic will be great news to many and I’d like to thank all those who live in and travel through the area for their patience while this essential work was carried out. In particular, I would like to thank the local business community and bus passengers for their patience. So much of what happens in the North Bridge Refurbishment Project goes unseen, but it’s a huge, complex scheme involving intricate, specialist skills and significant repairs to decades-old infrastructure.
“The partial closure of the bridge to traffic has allowed the team to carry out crucial work to restore and reinforce the deck for future generations. I look forward to seeing the project unfold further as the bridge’s façade is revived to its former glory. North Bridge was constructed by Sir William Arrol after he completed both the Forth Bridge and Tower Bridge, and this work should ensure it maintains the same iconic status.”
In November 2021, investigations revealed the poor condition of concrete within the central part of the deck. Over the last 15 months contractors have replaced the deck’s reinforced concrete and installed a waterproofing system to protect the concrete and stop surface water passing into the structural steelwork below. Elsewhere on the bridge, complex restoration work continues, including structural steelwork repairs, which are largely complete. More recent phases have seen 80,000 new bolts installed and repairs to almost 650 parts of the steelwork.
Rory McFadden, Balfour Beatty project director, said: “The reopening of the North Bridge to traffic marks a momentous milestone, culminating months of hard work and tenacity from our dedicated team. I would like to thank the local community in Edinburgh for their co-operation and patience during these essential works, which once complete, will ensure that this iconic structure remains for generations to come.”
Contractors have also started grit blasting and painting the bridge’s iconic façade, an 18-month process which signals the start of finishing works for the bridge, due to be complete by Spring 2025. As well as removing existing coatings and surface corrosion through grit blasting, specialists have begun the intricate task of repainting the Victorian façade for the first time since 1990.
Some work is required to facilitate the return to two-way traffic, which will be undertaken overnight to minimise disruption. As a result, North Bridge will be closed to traffic between 8pm and 6am from April 12-20. Lothian Buses will reintroduce northbound services shortly after the reopening of North Bridge. For the most up to date travel information visit the Lothian Buses website. Find out more about the North Bridge project.