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Fochabers Bridge

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Spey Bridge
Location Map ( geo)
Fochabers Bridges - aerial from south.jpg
Cameraicon.png View gallery (6)
From:  Fochabers
To:  Mosstodloch
Highway Authority
Opening Date
1801-6, 1831-2, 1853, 1972
Additional Information
List No:  LB15645  (Cat A)
Bridge Type:  Arch Bridge
Engineer:  Thomas Telford
On road(s)

Old Bridge

The old bridge

The old bridge at Fochabers was originally built at the beginning of the 19th Century. It is often attributed to Thomas Telford, although the start date of 1801 which is normally quoted would appear to make it one of the earliest projects started as part of his Commission on Roads and Bridges in Scotland. Other records suggest that brothers George and John Burns were responsible for the bridge. In fact, while the brothers started the construction, they were unable to secure enough funding to finish the bridge, and so it fell to Telford and the commissioners to complete the project. A former tollhouse, now enlarged, sits at the west end of the bridge, almost on the edge of the cliff above the river.

The original structure consisted of four masonry arches across the river and its flood plain, the two centre ones a little wider than the side arches. However, in 1829 a great flood washed away the western two arches, leaving only half a bridge. It appears to have taken two years for the bridge to be repaired, with a trestle structure bridging the gap as a temporary measure. This lasted for twenty years before the Iron arched span was installed to complete the river crossing. Marks cut in the stonework show the height reached by the water in 1829, and in another flood in 1970, the later one being a few inches higher.

At some point in the 20th Century, the bridge was widened. The original parapet removed and a new concrete deck laid on transverse steel I-beams to provide a roadway as wide as the original bridge, and cantilevered footways. The treatment to the Iron span was slightly different to prevent causing damage to the structure below. In 1969 or 1970 the bridge was closed for major repairs and all traffic diverted, after which a weight limit was imposed until in 1972 it was bypassed by the new bridge (below) constructed alongside.

The bridge was listed in 1971, it was upgraded from category B to category A in 1988. The c1830 former toll house at the west side of the bridge is also category B listed.

New Bridge

The new A96 bridge at Fochabers

The new bridge across the Spey and 0.82 mile approach roads were built just a little to the north of the old bridge, which makes it the road crossing closest to the river's mouth. The only bridge between here and the Moray Firth is the old Spey Viaduct, once carrying a railway line, now home to the Speyside Way and a Cycle Track. It was opened to traffic on 25 May 1972. There was an official opening in July 1972 by the Secretary of State.

The bridge is another of the functional concrete deck on steel girder structures, consisting of two spans and built on a gradient falling towards the east. The central pier sits on the river's east bank, as with all Spey bridges, to allow for floodwater to pass without damaging the structure. The town of Fochabers and its neighbour Mosstodloch now enjoy a bypass, opened in 2012. However, the Fochabers and Mosstodloch Bypass still uses the new bridge to cross the Spey.


The old bridge in 1962
The new bridge in 1972

Fochabers Bridge
Related Pictures
View gallery (6)
A96-spey-br.jpgFochabers-br1.jpgFochabers-br2.jpgSpey Bay Roundabout bridge.jpgSpey Bay Roundabout bypass.jpg
Crossings of the River Spey & Tributaries
River SpeyGarva Bridge • Spey Dam Bridge • Laggan Bridge • Spey Bridge (Newtonmore) • Ruthven Bridge • Kincraig Bridge • Spey Bridge (Aviemore) • Boat of Garten Bridge • Broomhill Bridge • New Speybridge • Old Speybridge • Cromdale Bridge • Advie Bridge • Blacksboat Bridge • Carron Bridge (Speyside) • Craigellachie Bridge • Boat O'Brig • Fochabers Bridge
River FiddichBridge of Fiddich • Bridge of Poolinch • Bridge of Auchindoun • Bridgehaugh
Avon & LivetBridge of Avon (Ballindalloch) • Silver Bridge (Strathavon) • Bridge of Avon (Tomintoul) •  • Drumin Bridge • Bridge of Livet (Glenlivet) • Bridge of Livet (Tomnavoulin)
River DulnainDulnain Bridge • Carr Bridge • A9 Dulnain Bridge • Sluggan Bridge
Other Tributary CrossingsTromie Bridge • Feshie Bridge • Coylum Bridge • Nethy Bridge

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