Balmoral Bridge

An historic wrought-iron girder bridge in Aberdeenshire, the Balmoral Bridge crosses the River Dee in a single span at Crathie, a quarter-mile (0.4 km) east of Balmoral Castle. It is the only structure in Scotland designed by the notable engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-59) and is also the earliest plate-girder bridge in the country. It was built 1856-57 on the instructions of Prince Albert, who had bought the Balmoral Estate in 1852, however Queen Victoria was reported not to like the completed structure because of its lack of ornamentation. The design, based on two girders riveted on site, is almost unique amongst Brunel's corpus, the only similar structure was amongst his work for the East Bengal Railway. The iron-work was by Rowland Brotherhood of Chippenham (Wiltshire, England), while construction was supervised by Dr. Andrew Robertson, who was factor of the Balmoral Estate. The bridge has a span of 39.8m (130 feet), crossing between two substantial piers of local granite, and the girders supported a 4.1-m (13½-foot) wide deck of pine planking and tarmac. This wooden deck required periodic replacement, therefore an extensive refurbishment of the bridge in 2014 saw this replaced this with a composite steel and reinforced concrete equivalent, at a cost of £450,000. It is now the property of Aberdeenshire Council and is Category A-listed owing to its historical and engineering significance.

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