Bridge of Dee, Aberdeen

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Ribbed Arches

The Bridge of Dee is situated towards the south end of the city at the terminus of South Anderson Drive, and despite other additions to the city’s infrastructure, is still a major thoroughfare. It is however a major bottleneck for vehicles especially at peak times, as it only supports one lane of traffic in each direction.

The bridge, unsurprisingly, spans the river Dee, and comprises seven ribbed arches. Constructed of dressed stone, a number of coats of arms are still visible today.

The Bridge of Dee was originally constructed in 1520 with £20,000 of funds bequeathed by prominent Renaissance Bishop, William Elphinstone (1431-1514) who founded Kings College, and drove the restoration of St. Machar’s Cathedral, both of which are situated in Old Aberdeen.

During its lifetime, the bridge has been restored in 1721 and widened in 1841. The widening was coordinated by City Architect, John Smith (1781-1852), who had originally proposed to build a new bridge, however the city council of the time declined.

Until 1832, the bridge was the only access to the city from the south. Plans are afoot to create a new Dee crossing so as to remove the bottleneck at this ancient structure, however, nothing has so far been crystallised.

When the water level in the river permits, it is possible to walk under the first arch through to the other side, as part of a much longer riverside walk along the Dee.

The image shows three of the ribbed arches from the south-side of the structure.

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