|Location Map ( geo)|
The Study is a narrow twisting section of the A82, also known as The Gorge, within which lies the Lairig Eilde Bridge over the River Coe. The River is actually crossed three times, albeit the previous two bridges simply allow the road and river to pass through the same space. This section of road was constructed in 1930 to re-route the road away from Telford's Road which still passes (although only passable on foot) around the top of the crags, making a sharp descent to the west.
The old bridge
The bridge constructed back in 1930 to carry the A82 across the River Coe beneath the Allt Lairig Eilde falls was more like a mini-viaduct than a bridge. It took 3 spans to cross the river, with massive paired piers in the stream, and strange polygonal concrete ribs between the piers to support the roadway above. There was also a fourth span on the east end which simply seems to have been an easier alternative to an embankment, as it appears to be far too high to be a flood arch.
In other respects, the bridge is similar to the others constructed along the A82 route in the early 1930s. While the single-span structures seem to be holding up well, the multi-span bridges (like Ba Bridge) have been replaced in recent years, so it is unsurprising that the bridge at the Study suffered the same fate.
The new bridge
In 2005-6 the Lairig Eilde Bridge was completely replaced. This was a mammoth acheivement when the narrow confines of the gorge are considered. The new bridge is wider, with an easier curvature and provides additional laybys for viewing the falls. It is supported by a single concrete drum pier, and the sheer bulk of the concrete deck.
The construction of this bridge necessitated the installation of a temporary Bailey Bridge to maintain traffic flow during the 18 month long works. This bridge had to be erected on the southern side of the road, and part of the approaches now form the layby and viewing platform. Such was the proximity of the bridge to the falls, that on particularly stormy days the spray formed a curtain across the road, making progress treacherous - even when accepting that it was traffic-light controlled single file running and often with a convoy vehicle!