|Location Map ( geo)|
Pathhead or Lothian Bridge carries the A68 high across the narrow valley of the Tyne Water near the village of Pathhead. It is a spectacular 5 arch viaduct designed by Thomas Telford and opened in 1831. It bears many similarites with Telford's Dean Bridge in Edinburgh, which was built at the same time. The roadway is carried on a series of fine semi-circular arches set between tall stone abutments built out from the steep valley sides. The river flows under the second arch from the north.
The most striking aspect of the bridge from the side, however, is the extensions on either side. These are actually original, with thin pilasters rising up the tall bridge piers and then fanning out to provide shallow arches above the main spans. These carry the pavements and parapet walls, while the main spans support the roadway. It has been said that the idea behind these extra arches was to lessen the visual impact of the mass of masonry in the spandrels, in a similar way to some bridges using occuli. However, the shallow depth on this bridge means this visual trick was less successful than on Dean Bridge where the pavement projections were much wider, casting deeper shadows.