|Location Map ( geo)|
|To:||Bridge of Cally (NO171488)|
|Distance:||1 miles (1.6 km)|
|Now part of:||Abandoned|
Just a mile or so north of Blairgowrie, large signs proclaim that the new road will open in Summer 2008, and lo and behold 3 years later it is open, and has been for 3 years! The reason for this new alignment on the A93 is that the old road had become a serious bottleneck on the route north, not particularly due to the winding route through the Craighall Gorge so much as because of the old Bailey bridge that had been erected across a serious landslip in 1985.
A variety of options were open to the engineers, but the need to keep the road open at all times, and the intransigence of local land owners when it came to releasing land for the road forced a route which was perhaps not the first choice. However, it has resulted in the old alignment through the trees being left as a pleasant walk high above the river, but away from the busy traffic. The intention was to incorporate it into the Sustrans National Cycle Network, but this has not yet happened, perhaps due to the lack of onward connections at either end. However, there is easy access to the old alignment, with a large parking area in the mouth of the old road at the southern end.
The Bailey Bridge
The bailey bridge lies approximately halfway along the abandoned section of road, and is a single track structure with steel deck that rests partly on the old road. It was controlled by traffic lights until the road closed, with traffic queueing much as it does at the infamous Pulpit Rock Lights on the A82, Loch Lomondside.
The need for this structure was that the road below had collapsed. Looking under the bridge it is possible to see where bits of broken tarmac have cracked and twisted when the road collapsed, and the retaining wall that had served for a hundred years or so still survives at the southern end, but no longer supports the road which has slumped inside it. This obviously created a serious problem on a busy road, and not one that could be solved by lights alone, so the Bailey Bridge was a quick and relatively cheap option to maintain traffic flow.
The New Road
Construction of the new road caused a further restriction to traffic passing along the A93, with the southern end of the road having to be constructed almost on top of the old road. This led to traffic lights controlling traffic while a Gabion wall was constructed to support the new carriageway high above.