|Location Map ( geo)|
|1689, 1855, 1961|
|Crossings related to the B861|
Ness Bridge crosses the River Ness in Inverness. The current bridge opened on 28th September 1961 to carry the A9 across the river in the centre of the town. This replaced a suspension bridge which stood on the site from 1855 to 1959, a temporary structure slightly upstream from this location was used while the current bridge was constructed. In 1982 the A9 was rerouted to bypass Inverness to the East via the newly constructed Kessock Bridge and a new route across the Black Isle, as such the A82 was extended through the town from its previous terminus on the A9 just West of the Ness Bridge to meet the A9 to the East of the town. This meant the Ness Bridge became the A82.
In 1986 a further crossing of the Ness, Friar's Bridge was constructed downstream of the Ness Bridge to relieve congestion in the town, further construction of connecting routes in subsequent years allowed the A82 to be rerouted on this new crossing which resulted in the Ness Bridge being classified to its current B861 status.
The bridge is a three span concrete structure where the central span is approximately twice the width of the two flanking spans, each of which is a half arch cantilever type design. Indeed, the central span is formed of two cantilevers carrying a suspended central section. The abutments appear to be the original stone ones, but are wider to cater for the wider bridge, while the two piers in the river are new, and have triangular cutwaters on their narrow faces. The deck carries four lanes of traffic on a single carriageway road flanked by wide pavements and metal parapet railings. The traffic lanes are lade out with turning lanes for the junctions at either end which are controlled by traffic signals.
The oldest known bridge across the River Ness was a seven arch stone bridge built in 1685-89, which contained a prison cell between two arches on the eastern side. It was washed away in a storm in 1849 which also caused the Caledonian Canal to burst its banks, the water surging down the River Ness. The precise location of this bridge is uncertain, although it probably stood a little down stream towards the pedestrian suspension bridge at Greig Street. A new bridge was designed by JM Rendal and opened in 1855. This was an unusual asymmetrical suspension bridge, also acting as a gateway to the city with a castellated arch on the north bank below the castle. In later years, with only two traffic lanes and this archway, it proved to be a serious hindrance to traffic. Therefore by 1939, work was started on a replacement, although with the outbreak of war the project suffered from delays.
The Suspension Bridge was a single span with bar-link chains hanging from the top of the arch on the north bank, and descending to the road deck towards the south side of the river. They then picked up a little to pass through two substantial square stone piers either side of the road on the south bank. This asymmetrical design appears to have been chosen to keep the roads along the river bank clear of hangers and cables, but led to a somehwat squat and heavy looking structure, nothing like the graceful spans of modern suspension bridges.