Tweed Bridge (Galashiels)
|Location Map ( geo)|
The historic Rink or Tweed Bridge crosses the River Tweed just upstream from its confluence with the River Ettrick. The A7, which formerly crossed the bridge, then crossed the Ettrick further upstream at the Ettrick Bridge. However, when the A7 was upgraded, one new bridge was built downstream of the confluence. The old bridge remained in use as an unclassified road until 2011 when structural weaknesses closed it to vehicles.
The old bridge is a 3 stone arch structure, with two main arches crossing the river and a smaller flood arch on the south bank. The roadway is just about wide enough for a narrow S2 road to cross, as testified by the surviving white centre line. However, without pavements or pedestrian refuges it must have been a dangerous place for walkers when the A7 still crossed.
The arch rings are all decorated by means of alternating the stones between yellow and red stone, set against the grey rubble of the main structure. Above the two main arches, four raised shields sit in the spandrels, and between them the cutwaters rise as shallow ashlar piers with additional decoration as they reach the cornice line and coping stones. The bridge was opened by Walter Scott, making it a popular tourist attraction.
The New Bridge
Built in 1974 to relieve the two older structures, the modern bridge provides a wider and straighter alignment through the Tweed and Ettrick valleys for the A7. It crosses the river at a significant skew, with three spans separated by continuous stone-faced piers in the river bed. The piers then support steel girders carrying the road itself.