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Dean Bridge
Water of Leith, Edinburgh
Dean Bridge
associated engineer
Thomas Telford
date  1831
era  Georgian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NT245745
photo  ICE archive
One of Telford's late, great stone bridges, built to span the Water of Leith in Edinburgh's New Town, where he had worked as a mason in his youth.
He modified his original design for a three-span bridge when difficulties with the foundations emerged. The four arches which support the roadway span 90ft each, with a rise of 30ft.
Rising from the piers outside the main arches, and starting at a level 20ft above the main springing, are graceful secondary arches which support the footpath on each side of the roadway. These span 96ft but rise only 10ft.
This double-arch design feature has no practical purpose but imparts a lightness to the heavy stone structure. To reduce the actual weight of the bridge, which stands 106ft above the water at its highest point, Telford used hollow-wall piers following the technique he had adopted at Pontcysyllte.
Dean Bridge soon became a popular site for suicides; so much so that it earned the nick-name, "Bridge of Sighs". The parapet was eventually heightened in an attempt to curtail this unintended usage.
Construction: John Gibb of Aberdeen
Resident Engineer: Charles Atherton
reference sources   TT

Dean Bridge