|Location Map ( geo)|
|Dumfries and Galloway|
|1661, 1730, 1779, 1811, 1964|
Fleet Bridge spans the River Fleet in Gatehouse of Fleet. For centuries it was the lowest crossing point of the river, but has long since been bypassed by the A75, which crosses on a new bridge further downstream. There are records of a timber bridge spanning here in the 16th Century, which was rebuilt in 1661. Although the records may be incomplete, the bridge was washed away in 1721, and rebuilt in stone in 1730. This is part of the present bridge, although you'd be hard pushed to tell beneath all the extensions.
The original part of the bridge appears to be the downstream side of the current structure. It consists of two stone arches either side of a substantial triangular cutwater, but soon proved to be too narrow. In 1779 it was widened by a few feet on the upstream side, and again in 1811, when the widening was as wide as the original bridge had been. The bridge then survived into modern times relatively unchanged, but with the ever growing volume of traffic along what was then the A75, it became necessary to widen it once more. The bridge was kept open with single lane running throughout while the old roadway and parapets were removed and replaced with a new concrete deck, including cantilevered footways with metal railing parapets. The reinforced concrete deck slab was necessarily cast in two sections, with the join roughly between the two previous widenings. Reinforcement bars were cast into the first part of the slab and then bent over to be horizontal after the old road deck was removed.
Today the bridge carries the B727, a wide S2 road with pavements, which is more than sufficient for the quiet traffic now passing through Gatehouse since the bypass opened. However, for the few years after it was fully re-opened, and before the bypass was built, it was carrying the full flow of A75 traffic.