Steel beautiful after all these years: historic footbridge gets a makeover

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3 JUNE 2011NEWS RELEASE No: 14681

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The historic Invergarry footbridge over the River Garry, cited as an important early example from the 'pioneering' days of steel in construction, has been saved from collapse by Forestry Commission Scotland.

The elegant, B-listed bridge spans 60m over the dramatic River Garry and has been a feature in the landscape ever since it was constructed in 1892. However, the worst ravages of the Scottish weather had taken its toll and some of the steel trusses were badly corroded.

Kenneth Knott, the Environment Forester for Lochaber Forest District, said:

“The bridge certainly adds to what is a very picturesque setting and is a very useful part of several local walks. Unfortunately, several of the main lower trusses in the structure had deteriorated to the point that – in the interests of public safety - the footbridge had to be closed.

“Getting the work done has taken a few years but it was well worth the effort and we’re very pleased to see this historic bridge restored to it’s full glory.”

The newly restored bridge has been fully operational since March 2011  - and remains a well-loved local treasure.

Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Scotland Archaeologist, said:

“Although the bridge is not a unique design, structures of this style were usually built in urban settings. However, in the late 19th century, many Estates were investing in contemporary engineering. The Invergarry footbridge was – and still is - a beautiful example of the new steel technology of the time.”

Notes to Editors:
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate, protecting, managing and expanding Scotland’s forests and woodlands in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy.

2) Following the Industrial Revolution, cast iron was the main alloy used in structures. In the 1820s wrought iron entered the industry and in 1837 it was used for the first time as a main and sole structural material in the trussed roof of Euston Station in London. Throughout the 19th century, a vast number of scientific tests and research were carried out to understand properties of iron. The first use of steel in structures is recorded around 1870 in USA (in the construction of bridges). The steel industry rapidly expanded and the need for standardisation of the properties of the materials and methods of structural analysis was becoming more and more obvious. The first safe working load tables for steel were published in 1887 - and the first issue of British Standard BS 1, in 1901, made an attempt to unify the steel sections. Five years later, the first edition of BS 15 was published, providing specification for structural steel for bridges and general use with safe working load tables.

1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.