Bridge of Oich
|Bridge of Oich|
|Location Map ( geo)|
A bridge was first built across the River Oich at Aberchalder when the Caledonian Canal and new Great Glen road were being built in the 1810s by Thomas Telford. However, this bridge had a central pier in the river and was washed away by a flood 1849. The prime cause was a common one in the Highlands at the time, in that timber was floated downstream on the rivers, and despite various attempts to stop this process, a build up of timber behind the bridge was partially responsible for its failure.
In order to minimise the chance of a recurrence, a bridge which crossed the river with a single span was desired, and James Dredge got the contract to build one of his new Taper Principle Suspension Bridges across the Oich. He built several other bridges across the Highlands at a similar time, although the precise chronology is not clear, but the Bridge of Oich was the most successful, being a full road bridge which carried traffic until 1932, and remains standing to this day.
When the A82 was upgraded through the Great Glen in the early 1930s, a new bridge across the Oich was necessary. Not only was the existing bridge narrow, but its slender proportions meant it had a limited weight limit, rendering it less suited to modern traffic levels. A new bridge was therefore designed, and despite the failings of Telford's earlier bridge, it has two piers in the river! Unusually amongst the bridge built along the A82 in the 1930s, the new Bridge of Oich has pointed arches. Where many had graceful curves, or even straight beamed spans, there are three concrete arches, with substantial cutwaters either side of the piers.
|Bridge of Oich|