Forth Ports said that the aim is to conserve the bridge for the future and create a useable space for the local community.

The bridge, which is the largest counterweighted swing bridge in Scotland, will be fully repaired, with a phased programme of specialist works designed to protect the character and form of the structure.

Victoria Swing Bridge, which is classified as a Category A listed historic structure, was designed by Alexander Rendel and opened in 1874 to provide a route for the port. The bridge was originally B listed but was upgraded to an A listing in 2014.

It is constructed of riveted wrought iron, timber and steel and originally carried a double rail track along its central deck, providing access for both trains and road vehicles. It features pedestrian walkways on either side.

Forth Ports’ plans are outlined in a Listed Building Consent application, which has been lodged with City of Edinburgh Council (CEC). The proposed repair programme is to be carried out in phases and includes:

  • the full refurbishment of the northern and southern walkways;
  • re-decking the central carriageway;
  • replacement of the decked turning circle areas;
  • a full repair and repaint of metalwork on the bridge.

Victoria Swing Bridge

The refurbishment of the north and south pedestrian walkways is expected to be undertaken this year, with the remaining work anticipated to take place in 2022.

Charles Hammond, group chief executive at Forth Ports, said: “The Victoria Swing Bridge is a well kent sight in Leith and it is an important and rare surviving example of our heritage. The plans we have submitted to the council have been well thought through and will ensure that the repairs are appropriate for the conservation of this important landmark.

“We want to also create a useable space for the local community and we hope that once the bridge has been restored, people will be able to enjoy this historic space.”