|6 August 1982|
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, 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 1056 m and a main span of 240 m. 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.
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.