Old Tweed Bridge near Selkirk open again after 16-month revamp

The Old Tweed Bridge near Selkirk.
The Old Tweed Bridge near Selkirk.

The historic Old Tweed Bridge near Lindean has reopened to cyclists and pedestrians after a refurbishment programme lasting almost a year and a half.

Temporary props were installed underneath and around the bridge during the 16 months of works now completed on the 185-year-old crossing.

The existing bridge infill was removed, its masonry walls were taken down and rebuilt, a concrete saddle was cast above the masonry arches and the road, closed to traffic in the 1970s, was resurfaced.

The bridge dates back to 1831, that being when author Walter Scott laid its foundation stone.

That stone, previously on the exterior of the crossing, has been moved to its inside so it can be seen more easily.

The work, carried out by civil engineering contractor Amey, was planned in consultation with Transport Scotland, Scottish Borders Council, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Scottish National Heritage and the River Tweed commissioners.

Scottish Government transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “The Old Tweed Bridge has been given a new lease of life with this refurbishment, and it can now be used by cyclists and pedestrians and enjoyed by the local community for years to come.

“Those crossing the bridge will now have the opportunity to see the foundation stone which was laid by Sir Walter Scott as it has been moved to the inside of the east parapet.

“A stone marking the restoration is also in place, marking a new chapter for this historic structure.”

Stuart Wallace, bridge manager for Amey, said: “This was a long and complex job, but seeing the bridge restored and knowing that its future is secure makes it all worthwhile.

“We appreciate the patience and support of the local community while this essential maintenance work took place.”

The Old Tweed Bridge, like a similar crossing over the Ettrick Water just a mile away, was built by Darnick building company John and Thomas Smith at a cost of £2,500.

The category-B listed structure used to be part of the main route between Selkirk and Galashiels, carrying the A7 over the Tweed, but fell into disrepair after a replacement was opened in 1974, and it was closed to walkers and cyclists several years ago due to its deteriorating condition.