J. Spey Bridge

OldSpeyBridge2The original bridge over the Spey was open by 1765. It was built by John Scott, master mason, at a cost of £1,500.

The bridge was part of the re-routing of Wade's military road from Etteridge to Ruthven carried out by his successor Major Caulfeild.

The bridging of the Spey had far-reaching effects in the area. The new crossing diverted travellers from the south side of the river and in bypassing the ferry at Ruthven it marked the beginning of the end for that burgh. The diversion of the main highway to the north side of the Spey led to the establishment of the inn at Pitmain, the founding of Kingussie at the end of the 18th century and of Newtonmore in the early 19th century.

By the 1920s the original bridge was in a poor state and was too narrow for the volume of traffic. It was replaced by this bridge in 1927 as part of the reconstruction of the Great North Road, now the A9. The rebuilding of the road was a huge construction project which provided much-needed employment: at one point some 1,500 men were working on the road. Seventy eight miles of road between Blair Atholl and Inverness were rebuilt between 1925 and 1928, at a cost of £654,476, or £8,390 per mile.

SpeyBridge1920Spey Bridge was one of the largest of the sixty bridges involved in the project. It cost £23,363. The bridge was designed by the architect Maxwell Ayrton and the engineer Sir Owen Williams and built by Sir Robert MacAlpine and sons. Its three spans measure 67ft (20.4m), 87ft ( 26.5m) and 107ft (32.6m). It is built of reinforced concrete.

Sources:

George Dixon
Local residents
Badenoch Record
Bruce, R. (1931) "The Great North Road over the Grampians", Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers, 232: 113-154.
Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/111710/details/newtonmore+spey+bridge/

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