It really shouldn't come as a surprise to know that there is a bridge in Roy Bridge, but do you know where it is? It is yet another of those bridges that can be crossed without realising, and yet if you take the time to stop and take a look it is really quite a large and interesting structure.
The New Bridge
The bridge that stands today (between the shop and the Roy Bridge Hotel in case you were wondering) is a large single span Concrete Arch structure, carrying the two lane A86 across the River Roy. Whilst it doesn't carry a date stone, it is visually very similar to bridges built across the Highlands in the 1930s, with a concrete arch and the upper structure clad in local stone.
The Old Bridge
The remains of the old bridge below the new
Clearly, the village of Roy Bridge pre-dates 1930, so the probability of an earlier crossing seems high. Take the stile out of the little car park and scramble down the steep and slippery river bank and you can even find the old bridge, or at least the abutments from which the arch once sprung. The old bridge, bearing the hallmarks of Thomas Telford's bridges, is long gone, but was probably built with the construction by Telford of the Laggan Road as part of his Highland Roads commission.
The arch seems to have crossed where a mass of jagged rock sticks out into the river channel, almost to the middle, and it must be wondered whether this brief narrowing of the channel gave Telford the opportunity to insert a central pier in the river, so narrowing the spans necessary. If not, then crossing this wide river in one span seems unlikely 200 years ago, so perhaps a timber trestle structure was used.
|Crossings of the Rivers Lochy, Spean & Tributaries|