Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen)
|Bridge of Dee|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|1527, 1720, 1842|
|Crossings related to the A92|
The Bridge of Dee (or Brig o' Dee) crosses the River Dee on the A92 (Former A90) in Aberdeen. It lies at the north end of an ancient drovers' road from Stonehaven. In the 15th century there was a ferry across the Dee and a ford 300 m downstream from the site of the bridge. Work on a bridge began in the 1510s, following a bequest of £20,000 from Bishop William Elphinstone, who was a courtier and diplomat as well as a clergyman and the founder of Aberdeen University, and who died in 1514. A later bishop, Bishop Dunbar, took over responsibility for the project. Construction was supervised by master mason Thomas Franche, and the bridge was finished around 1527.
After nearly two hundred years, the bridge was in a bad state and it was partially rebuilt around 1719-23. It was widened in 1842 by the city architect John Smith, who moved the entire western side outwards to a width of 26 ft.
The Bridge of Dee for many years stood at Aberdeen's southern boundary, hence its historical importance including as the scene of a battle during the First Bishops' War in 1639. It was the only bridge across the Dee in the Aberdeen area until the opening of the Wellington Suspension Bridge in 1830 (pedestrians) and 1831 (traffic); that bridge is now closed to traffic.
The bridge has seven stone arches of up to 50 ft wide, ribbed underneath. Despite modifications, many features of the original medieval design have been maintained, including the piers and some stone carving. The triangular cut waters are chamfered back to form semi-hexagonal refuges either side of the roadway (although the bridge now has continuous pavements on both sides), which are now home to the lamp posts. Underneath the bridge, the arch ribs stand proud of the underside of the bridge, and it is easy to differentiate the newer work on the upstream side from the original spans.
Today, despite being part of the A92, the bridge has a width restriction of 2.1 metres and HGVs are re-routed along a series of alternative routes to reach the much wider King George VI bridge further downstream. However, in late 2018 the Aberdeen bypass should be complete, giving much needed relief to this historic crossing.
|Bridge of Dee (Aberdeen)|