|Location Map ( geo)|
|Crossings related to the A85|
Lets get one thing straight right now, I cannot find any name attributed to this bridge, so have called it Kilchurn Bridge, simply as it sits next to Kilchurn Castle!
Beneath The Road
You can cross this structure as many times as you like, you will never have the faintest idea of the incredible engineering beneath your tyres. The bridge across the River Orchy was built in the late 1930s to relieve the old Dalmally Bridge, and stretch of former A85 that became the B8077. It is, at first glance, a fairly simple three arch structure built from concrete. Each of the arches has four ribs, with the outer faces decorated to look like stonework. The ribs sit on the concrete piers, which have triangular cutwaters that stand higher than the piers, seemingly to hold the ribs in place.
It gets more complex however, when you notice the expansion joints (left). The centre arch has such a joint at each end, while the outer arches just have the one on the landward side. This is obviously designed to allow quite extensive movement in the structure, although there is no noticeable movement when 40-tonne lorries pass over, and all of the joints seemed to be of uniform gaps.
You may not be overly impressed by this massive structure just yet, but we haven't finished! The land on either side of the River Orchy is boggy, indeed the river is almost still the head of Loch Awe, sheltered by the promontory on which Kilchurn Castle sits (free to enter in summer months and worth a visit!). In order to carry the road across this often-flooded river banks, the engineers added sizeable flood arches. Whilst of slightly different design to the main river arches (there are no expansion joints for starters), they are of a similar size, with three on the south-east bank and two on the north-west. At the landward end on the south-east bank there is also an additional small cattle-creep arch.
The Bridge Deck
Apart from having a wide S2 road way to carry the Primary A85 across the river, the bridge also has a pavement on the north-eastern side of the road. At either end there are additional short pavements on the opposite side too, stopping for the river arches. On the through pavement side, there are concrete benches (left) at each end of the river arches, allowing pedestrians a brief rest after the strenuous exercise of crossing the river!