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Dunglass Bridge

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Dunglass Bridge
Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Cockburnspath
To:  Bilsdean
County
Berwickshire • East Lothian
Highway Authority
Scottish Borders  • East Lothian
Opening Date
C17th, 1798, 1932, 1990s
On road(s)
A1

There are four road bridges and a railway spanning the Dunglass Burn in close proximity to the coast. All four road bridges have, at one time, carried the Great North Road, now the A1 north from Berwickshire into East Lothian, and two of them still carry traffic across the county boundary. The oldest is thought to pre-date 1617, and the current bridge carrying the A1 dates from the 1990s improvements to the road.

Old Bridge

The old bridge is a single span stone arch across the small burn, and is the closest to the coast. It still carries a farm track or footpath from the road end at Castle Dykes to the farm on the north bank of the burn, but is surrounded by vegetation making it difficult to get a good view of it. The bridge is believed to be the one referred to in a document from 1617, and certainly the structure which was repaired and buttressed in 1648. Another major repair was carried out in 1794, even though the replacement bridge was planned soon after.

New Bridge

Dating from 1798, the New Bridge is also a single stone arch spanning the burn, albeit some distance further up stream than its predcessor. It has, however, been built in a much grander style, with a longer span and higher above the burn to remove the need for the road to dip down to the banks of the stream. This bridge still carries the local road, although construction of the railway and modern A1 routes have exaggerated some of the meanders in the route.

Substantial pilasters rise up the piers and stand proud of the parapets, but without providing the refuges. The parapets are heavily castellated, necessitating the fitting of metal railings in the gaps, and these extend along the wing walls over the abutments. The roadway is a narrow S2 without pavements, but sufficient for the limited local traffic which still uses it.

1930s Bridge

This bridge, opened in 1932, is the only one not still in use. It is, however, a striking example of the elegant 1930s concrete bridges built right across Scotland, this example engineered by Blyth and Blyth. As with its predecessors, it is a single arch span which lies roughly halfway between the others, and downstream of the railway bridge, thus removing two railway crossings from the A1 route. The structure of the bridge consists of a series of five trussed concrete arches. The spandrels of the arches are largely hollow, a series of narrow arches with slender supporting piers spanning between the main arch ring and the road deck. There are five such arches in either spandrel, with three blank sections at the centre.

These slender arches are repeated in the abutment trusses either side of the main piers, connecting the road deck and the ground slab. Arch and deck meet at the centre of the bridge, where the concrete arch is at its thinnest, increasing in thickness towards the ground. The parapets are constructed from stone, with raised entablature sections over the centre of the arch. The road deck was wide, with pavements on either side, but perhaps insufficient for modern traffic levels.

Current Bridge

The current bridge dates from the 1990s and lies alongside the 1930s bridge, on its downstream side. Compared to its many, varied predecessors, it is a rather dull, modern concrete slab with a single span across the burn, piers on either bank and side spans between the piers and ground. The road is still only S2, albeit somewhat wider than before, and flanked by narrow pavements and standard steel parapet barriers.






Dunglass Bridge