Bridges and Structures

Overview

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 4714 structures, including 1933 bridges and over 2781 culverts, gantries, high-mast lighting and retaining walls.

Our beautiful bridges

The gross asset value of the bridges stock is £5.5bn.

Our bridges are a vital part of Scotland's culture and heritage; 49 of them are of Historic Interest, while six are designated as Scheduled Ancient Monuments.

Many are magnificent feats of engineering. Nine 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, which is on track for completion in 2017. Other estuary and river crossings on the network include:

  • A898 Erskine Bridge
  • A9 Kessock Bridge
  • A9 Cromarty Bridge
  • A9 Dornoch Bridge
  • M8 Kingston Bridge
  • M8 Whitecart Viaduct
  • A87 Skye Bridge
  • M90 Friarton Bridge
  • A985 Kincardine Bridge
  • A878 Clackmananshire Bridge
  • A876 Connel Bridge
  • A82 Ballachulish Bridge

Transport Scotland also operates six canal swing bridges in co-operation with Scottish Canals on the Caledonian and Crinan 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.

We ensure that bridges can hold the heavy loads of 40-44 tonne HGVs. Vehicles this heavy have been on the roads since 2000 and we are still in the process of a strengthening and replacement programme that will be complete by 2020.

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 the Highways Agency in England, local authorities and Network Rail on collaborative projects and schemes.

Historic Bridges

As part of our Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology celebrations Transport Scotland had a look on the road network and selected a few bridges that are of historical interest. From now until the end of the year we'll be adding short films showing spectacular aerial views of each of them, so be sure to keep coming back to have a look.