|Location Map ( geo)|
|Perth and Kinross|
|Crossings related to the B846|
|Bridge of Ericht • Bridge of Gaur • Kinloch Rannoch Bridge • Tummel Bridge|
Aberfeldy Bridge was built by General George Wade as part of his Military Roads project in 1733-5, It is (apparently) the only bridge built under Wade's command that still operates as part of the road network in Scotland (most have been replaced). Today it carries a single lane of traffic, controlled by traffic lights, in and out of Aberfeldy on the B846.
At the time it was completed, this was the only bridge anywhere across the Tay. All other crossing points were either fords or ferries, but to ensure that the army had free movement, without hindrance from the flood waters that often hit the river, Wade decided that a bridge was essential, and so chose Aberfeldy. His other main north-south route was to Dunkeld, where the road used the ferry, Dunkeld Bridge being built nearly a century later by Thomas Telford.
On 7th February 1734, the bridge is mentioned in the House of Commons Journal. It is described as having 5 arches spanning nearly 400feet (120m) between them, the main arch being 60ft (18m) across. Oak was used for the foundations, with the piles clad in Iron, while the stone was quarried locally.
The first stone had been laid on 23rd April 1733, and it was officially opened on 8th August 1735. However, by October 1733 the bridge was already at 'pavement' level, so it seems probable that the bridge was used that winter by the local population. The bridge was completed by Major Caulfeild who later took over from Wade as Inspector of Roads, and as Wade did not return to Scotland until August 1735, it would appear that the official opening was delayed by about 18 months for his presence!