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Kessock Bridge

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Kessock Bridge
Drochaid Ceasaig
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (24)
From:  Inverness
To:  North Kessock
Inverness-shire • Ross-shire
Highway Authority
Transport Scotland
Opening Date
6 August 1982
Additional Information
List No:  LB52506  (Cat B)
Bridge Type:  Cable Stayed Bridge
Max Span:  1052m (3451 ft 5 in)
On road(s)
Crossings related to the A9
Stirling Bridges • Tay Bridge (Perthshire) • Coronation Bridge (Pitlochry) • Dunkeld Bridge • Edendon Bridge • Bridge of Tilt • Dalnaspidal Bridge • Daviot Bridge • Conon Bridge • Tomatin Viaduct • Dalreoch Bridge • Alvie Bridge • Almond Bridge • Pass of Killiecrankie • Scrabster Ferry • Dornoch Firth Bridge • Bridge of Allan • Carrbridge • Cromarty Bridge • Bonar Bridge • The Mound • Dunbeath Bridge • Findhorn Bridge • Brora Bridge • Golspie Bridge • Slochd Bridge • A9 Garry Bridge • A9 Tummel Bridge • Helmsdale Bridge • A9 Spey Bridge • Dalmagarry Bridge • Bannockburn Bridge • Thurso Bridge • Latheronwheel Bridge • Berriedale Bridge • A9 Dulnain Bridge • Allt Geallaidh Bridge • Larbert Bridges • Dalnamein Bridge • Crubenmore Bridge • Balnagown Bridge • Evelix Bridge • Balavil Bridge • Boathouse Bridge


The Kessock Bridge crosses the narrow channel between the Moray and Beauly Firths from Inverness to North Kessock on the Black Isle and carries the A9 dual-carriageway road. Completion of the bridge, together with that of another over the Cromarty Firth to the north a few years earlier, chopped over 10 miles off the journey to the far north, and other improvements have since shortened the distance still further.


Completed in 1982, the bridge, which is cable-stayed, has a total length of 1052m and a main span of 240m. It was then the largest cable-stayed bridge in Europe. The design, by German engineer Hellmut Homberg, is based on that of a crossing of the River Rhine at Düsseldorf and the bridge won the Saltire Award for Civil Engineering Construction. To protect it from the adverse effects of any seismic activity on the Great Glen Fault it incorporates seismic buffers – the first bridge in Europe to do so.

It opened on 19 July 1982 with initially two way traffic on the eastern carriageway with no overtaking. Both carriageways were to open after the official opening on 6 August 1982 by the Queen Mother.


Before the bridge opened, a ferry crossed the Beauly Firth from Inverness to North Kessock. In 1937 the crossing was made by a steamer, which could carry no more than one or two cars at a time. The service was hourly, changing depending on time of year, weather and state of the tide. By 1963, things had improved somewhat, with a half-hourly service from either side able to carry 8-10 cars. The crossing took seven minutes and cost 3s per car. In peak season, the service was a shuttle, running every 15 minutes from either side, between (approx) 7am and 11pm.

When the original plans for the A9 upgrade were announced in the late 1960s, the government were focussing on the Perth to Inverness section. However, following a vociferous local campaign, which included at least one local MP, options for continuing the works north of Inverness was investigated. In 1970 one of the supporting MPs became a cabinet member and so the campaign gathered momentum, and by 1975 tenders for a bridge across the narrows of the Beauly Firth at Kessock were being sought. Before this, one of the draft proposals had been to provide an on-line upgrade, with bypasses and some dualled sections, but the campaigners seized the momentum and pushed for a shorter route from Inverness to the north.

The first design proved too expensive for the treasury, so instead the unusual decision (for the time) to launch a design and build tender process was made, with six designs subsequently put forward. The chosen design was the cheapest, but with rising cost pressures in the late 1970s still worked out almost as expensive as the original design had been. Due to various delays in this process, the 1.5 mile approach roads had been completed in 1975 (per the 1975 Scottish Development Department Report), but work on the bridge did not begin until spring 1978.


The following vehicle ferries operated on the Kessock service, in addition to a fleet of passenger ferries. Most of the vessels were operated by the Kessock Ferry Committee - a partnership between Inverness Town Council and Ross and Cromarty County Council.

Name IMO Operator Dates Notes
Glenachulish Kessock Ferry Committee; Highland Council 1975-82 (Relief only) 6 Cars - No IMO MarineTraffic
Rosehaugh 6702363 Kessock Ferry Committee; Highland Council 1967-82 17 Cars
Inbhir Nis Kessock Ferry Committee 1953-67 4 Cars
Eilean Dubh Kessock Ferry Committee 1951-82 8 Cars
St Mawes Kessock Ferry Committee 1942-51 5 Cars
Hope Kessock Ferry Committee 1939-42 3 Cars
Lowestoft Belle William MacDonald 1921-36 1/2 Cars


Kessock Bridge
Related Pictures
View gallery (24)
Kessock Bridge Fireworks - Coppermine - 16534.jpgKessock-br3.jpgA9, August 1973 - Coppermine - 19823.jpgA9 Inverness bypass under construction..jpgKessock Bridge - Flickr - 12575900655.jpg
Features of the A9 Corridor
North of Inverness
Kessock Bridge • Cromarty Bridge • Nigg Ferry • Dornoch Firth Bridge • Bonar Bridge • The Mound • Helmsdale • Dunbeath & Berriedale • Scrabster Ferry • Pentland Ferry
Crossings of the Rivers Ness, Moriston, Oich & Garry
River Ness & Loch Ness tributariesArdachy Bridge • Bridge of Tarff • Allt Doe Bridge • White Bridge • Lower Foyers Bridge • Inverfarigaig Bridge • Divach Bridge • Borlum Bridge • White Bridge • Shenval Bridge • Drumnadrochit Bridge • Dochfour Causeway • Ness Bridge • Friars Bridge • Waterloo Bridge • Kessock Bridge
River MoristonLoch Loyne Bridge • River Loyne Bridge • Cluanie Bridge • Moriston Bridge • Ceannacroc Bridge • Torgoyle Bridge • Invermoriston Bridge
Rivers Oich and GarryLoch Quioch Bridge • Invergarry Bridge • Bridge of Oich • Fort Augustus Bridge
Crossings of the River Beauly & tributaries
River Beauly & FarrarStruy Bridge • Black Bridge • Lovat Bridge • Kessock Bridge
Rivers Glass, Affric & Abhainn DeabhagChisholm Bridge • Knockfin Bridge • Fasnakyle Bridge • Comar Bridge • Mauld Bridge
River CannichLoch a' Bhàna Bridge • Muchrachd Bridge • Cannich Bridge

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