Kessock Bridge

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Kessock Bridge
Coordinates57°29′58″N 4°13′48″W / 57.499448°N 4.229976°W / 57.499448; -4.229976
CarriesA9 road
CrossesBeauly Firth
LocaleInverness, Scotland
DesignCable-stayed bridge
Total length1,056 metres (3,465 ft)
Longest span240 metres (787 ft)
Opened6 August 1982 by The Queen Mother
Evening at Kessock Bridge

The Kessock Bridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid Cheasaig)[1] carries the A9 trunk road across the Beauly Firth at Inverness, Scotland.


The Kessock Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge across the Beauly Firth, an inlet of the Moray Firth, between the village of North Kessock and the city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

The bridge has a total length of 1,056 metres (3,465 ft) with a main span of 240 metres (787 ft). Designed by German engineer Hellmut Homberg and built by Cleveland Bridge,[2] it is similar to a bridge across the Rhine in Düsseldorf. The Beauly Firth is a navigable waterway and hence the bridge is raised high over sea level. The four bridge towers dominate the Inverness skyline, especially at night when they are lit.

The bridge carries the A9 trunk road north from Inverness to the Black Isle. It is the southernmost of the "Three Firths" crossings (Beauly, Cromarty and Dornoch) which has transformed road transport in the Highlands. It has proved a key factor in the growth of the city of Inverness.

To protect against any potential seismic activity of the Great Glen Fault, the bridge includes seismic buffers in its construction. These buffers are at the north abutment, nearly over the line of the fault, and they supplement longitudinal restraint at Pier 7, the south main pier. Each buffer is just over 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) long and weighs about 2.5 tonnes (2.8 short tons).[3]

On the south side of the bridge is the Caledonian Stadium, home of Inverness Caledonian Thistle.


Prior to August 1982, travellers north of Inverness had the choice of the Kessock Ferry or a 20 mile journey via Beauly. Cleveland Bridge were awarded the £17.5 million contract in 1975 (equivalent to £156,170,000 in 2021)[4].[5] It was designed by German civil engineer Hellmut Homberg [de].[6][7] Construction on the bridge began in 1978, with completion and opening in 1982.[8] It won the combined design and construction Saltire Society 1982 Civil Engineering Award in 1983.[9][10]

Transport Scotland estimated in 2012 that 30,000 vehicles per day were using the bridge.[8]

Since 2007, the 25th anniversary of its opening, the Kessock Bridge has featured on the obverse of the £100 note issued by the Bank of Scotland. The series of notes commemorates Scottish engineering achievements with illustrations of bridges in Scotland such as the Glenfinnan Viaduct and the Forth Bridge.[11]

The bridge was resurfaced from February to June 2013.[12] The 20-week programme on the bridge's southbound carriageway saw Stirling Lloyd fulfil all preparation, waterproofing and resurfacing work using the Eliminator bridge deck waterproofing system[13] combined with Gussasphalt, supplied by Stirling Lloyd's partners Aeschlimann AG. The project was managed by Stirling Lloyd's Darren Holmes on behalf of Transport Scotland. Once completed, the improvement programme gave the bridge deck surfacing a predicted life expectancy of over 30 years.

In 2019, the bridge was awarded a Category B listed status by Historic Environment Scotland.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Maclean, Roddy (2004). The Gaelic Place Names and Heritage of Inverness. Inverness: Culcabock Publishing. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-9548925-0-0.
  2. ^ "Kessock Bridge opens in 1982". Inverness Courier. 30 October 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  3. ^ "Earthquakes in the Inverness Area, 1995". 24 April 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 11 June 2022.
  5. ^ "Kessock Bridge to open early". Glasgow Herald. 14 June 1982. p. 8. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  6. ^ Pelke, Eberhard; Kurrer, Karl-Eugen (November 2012). "The art of major bridge-building - Hellmut Homberg and his contribution to multiple cable-stayed spans". Steel Construction. 5 (4): 251–265. doi:10.1002/stco.201210031. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  7. ^ "Listed status for A9's 'quake-proof' Kessock Bridge". BBC News. 10 October 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Kessock Bridge roadworks: £1.8m plan to ease disruption". BBC News. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
  9. ^ Johnstone, Anne (26 November 1983). "Civil Engineering gets the star treatment". Glasgow Herald. p. 8. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  10. ^ "Kessock Bridge gets the thumbs up for listing | HES".
  11. ^ "Current Banknotes : Bank of Scotland". The Committee of Scottish Clearing Bankers. Retrieved 17 October 2008.
  12. ^ "Conon Bridge railway station to reopen in 2013". BBC News. 19 September 2012.
  13. ^ Eliminator-bridge-deck-waterproofing-membrane
  14. ^ "Kessock Bridge gets the thumbs up for listing". Historic Environment Scotland. Retrieved 10 October 2019.

External links[edit]