Aberdeenshire Council | Glen Gairn, Aberdeenshire 2018-ongoing
The main north-south route through the eastern part of the Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands is built over (or alongside) an important military road constructed after the Jacobite rising of 1745. This road - now the A93 & A939 route linking the ski slopes at Glenshee and the Lecht - is the central section of the road linking Blairgowrie in the south to Fort George in the North. Crossing the River Gairn near Ballater the Gairnshiel Bridge of 1749 is a Category A listed Scheduled Monument and an excellent example of a military road bridge. Despite the implementation of an 18T weight restriction in 2016 the geometry of the bridge (it’s hump-back elevation), narrow width and tight approach creates difficulty for many vehicles resulting in regular bridge strikes causing significant damage to the structure.
A new crossing will divert highway traffic away from the original bridge, preserving it for the future and maintaining the crucial link between Deeside and Speyside. The new bridge responds to three key considerations: the river flood levels which necessitate a single span crossing; maintenance of a low highway alignment; and the desire to create a form which balances the robust masonry construction of the glen with geometry that provides a distinct point of difference with the original bridge.