Bridges and Structures


Transport Scotland maintains, manages and operates bridges and structures on Scotland's trunk roads. Our aim is to ensure bridge safety and minimise disruption to the public, road users and the environment.

Operating companies contracted by Transport Scotland on behalf of the Scottish Government manage, monitor and maintain any bridges or structures that are part of the road asset.

We maintain 4970 structures, including 2029 bridges and over 2941 culverts, footbridges, gantries, high-mast lighting and retaining walls.

Our beautiful bridges

The gross asset value of the bridges stock is £7.62bn.

Our bridges are a vital part of Scotland's culture and heritage; 58 of them are of Historic Interest.

Many are magnificent feats of engineering. Ten major bridges on the trunk road network have main spans greater than 100m.

Steel box girders, cable stays, steel girder trusses and concrete post-tensioned box girders help the bridges stretch further and reach higher.

One of our major recent projects is the Queensferry Crossing. Other estuary and river crossings on the network include:

We manage four canal swing bridges on the Trunk Road Network, at Banavie, Fort Augustus, Aberchalder and Laggan. Two more - at Tomnahurich and Ardrishaig - are managed by Scottish Canals.

Our role

Managing our assets

Transport Scotland and its contracted operating companies use the Structure Management System (SMS), a database, to assist with our overseeing role. It contains an inventory of all trunk road bridges and structures and is part of a management policy that meets the best practice standards of the new Code of Practice for the Management of Highway Structures.

We are responsible for management and maintenance technical policy. We also oversee:

  • operational management of bridges and structures
  • an annual maintenance programme
  • the annual bridge inspection programme

In total, some 700 principal and 1400 general inspections are carried out each year.

Heavy Goods Vehicles weighing up to 40-44 tonnes have been on the roads since 2000. To ensure that all elements of our bridges can carry such heavy vehicles, we are progressing a strengthening and replacement programme.

Overseeing organisation

Transport Scotland is the technical approval authority for trunk road structures in Scotland. This means we maintain all structures and bridges that support or cross the roads and we take responsibility when anything doesn't meet the design, construction and maintenance standards associated with these structures.

We are members of:

  • UK Bridges Board
  • Bridge Owners' Forum
  • SCOTS Bridges Group

Our bridges team provides support and advice to the Major Transport Infrastructure Projects Directorate (MTRIPS) on all bridges and structures that will be incorporated into new trunk roads. We cover everything from the development of options to the aesthetic design of any new bridge or structure.

We also work with Highways England, local authorities and Network Rail on collaborative projects and schemes.