|Location Map ( geo)|
|West Lothian • Midlothian|
|Transport Scotland • Edinburgh|
|1488, 1619, 1823, 1964|
|Crossings related to the A90|
Today two bridges span the River Almond at Cramond Bridge just to the west of Edinburgh. One is a S4 concrete structure carrying the A90, the other an elegant medieval stone bridge carrying the NCN1 and NCN76 cycle routes.
The New Bridge
Built in 1964 to carry the new road from Edinburgh out to the Forth Road Bridge, the modern bridge is a simple concrete deck supported by paired concrete piers on either bank of the river. Or at least, that seems to have been the original design. In 1999 it was reported that a 25 tonne weight limit was being imposed on the bridge due to structural weaknesses, and a year or so later a steel framework was inserted under the bridge to provide additional structural support.
The bridge carries the A90, at this point an S4 carriageway as it makes the change from urban street to dual carriageway expressway north to the Forth. The bridge replaces an older structure, which seems to have stood on the same site (more or less) and was constructed in 1820-23 to what was possibly the last bridge design by John Rennie. The bridge had 8 equal arches, including flood arches over the banks, and carried a 2-lane roadway. It was demolished in 1963 in advance of the construction of the current bridge.
The Old Brig
The old Cramond Brig dates back, in part at least, to c1488. This is the date recorded for a new stone bridge being constructed across the River Almond. Just under 100 years later, in c1587, the two eastern arches (Edinburgh side) collapsed and it wasn't until 1619 that they were reconstructed. This, and the subsequent repairs in 1687, 1761, 1776 and 1854 are all recorded on the southern parapet of the bridge, over the central arch.
The bridge itself consists of 3 stone arches across the river. The western arch, the oldest of the three, is also the most decorated with extra detail to the arch stones. However, all three arches are roughly the same profile and from a distance they look very similar. They also all share the stepped band which rises to cross each arch, then drops again. Contrary to most arch bridges, the centre arch is actually narrower than the two flanking arches - normally the central arch would be wider. Whether this was original, or due to the rebuilding in 1619 is uncertain, but judging by the cutwaters the pier between the two arches was all new in 1619. Interestingly, the downstream cutwater against the surviving arch also appears to have been rebuilt in 1619.