'Previously concealed' issues could see North Bridge closures until 2025

The A-listed, 19th century bridge was initially set to close for two years while structural work took place, but may now be out of commission for an extended period.

Edinburgh North Bridge to remain closed until 2025 after discovery of ‘previously concealed’ issues Google Maps

Restoration work on Edinburgh’s historic North Bridge will not be completed until 2025 – almost five years later than originally planned.

The A-listed 19th-century thoroughfare, which links the capital’s old and new towns, has been subject to partial closures since the summer of 2018 while a project to repair and replace the concrete central deck got under way, with plans for it to fully reopen in November 2020.

City of Edinburgh Council committed further funding to the project earlier in the year, taking the overall cost to more than £62m.

However, an official document now lists the overall completion date as June 18, 2025.

It comes just weeks after the local authority announced Northbound traffic restrictions will need to be extended into spring 2023.

The bridge has been reduced to a single Southbound lane since November last year, with footpaths closed off to pedestrians and public transport redirected elsewhere in the city centre.

Transport and environment convener, councillor Scott Arthur, said the “complexity” of the project had led to further investigations uncovering “previously concealed” issues.

He said: “This is an extremely complex project to refurbish Edinburgh’s iconic North Bridge and to ensure its longevity as a key link from the north to the south of the city.

“The historic nature of the project, the age of the structure and its heritage value finds the team uncovering elements of the bridge which require significant specialist work.

“We’re communicating with local residents, businesses and stakeholders, as well as Lothian Buses.”

In March, a council committee warned the project risked “continued timeline slippage” if further funding was not provided.

An additional £25.7m was added to the budget for the for the full refurbishment after it emerged parts of the bridge had not been inspected since its construction 120 years ago.

The local authority also blamed delays on restrictions brought in during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr Arthur added: “I’d like to thank everyone for their patience at this time, and look forward to the completion of the project, which will return this Category A Designated structure to its full glory.

“I’ve asked that councillors receive more regular updates on progress going forward, along with details of any budget pressures.”

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