Dunkeld Bridge

A graceful A-listed bridge that carries the A923 road across the River Tay between Dunkeld and Little Dunkeld. Dunkeld Bridge extends to 209m (685 feet) and represents the longest bridge built by the engineer Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834). Previously there had been a ferry but this was not the first bridge here with previous structures, which were generally constructed of wood, regularly being swept away by floods. A notable construction in the 16th century was built by Alexander Mylne (c.1474 - 1548), a Canon of Dunkeld who was also a mason. The present structure was built of dressed sandstone which was quarried to the south at Gellyburn. The bridge comprises five main spans and two narrow support arches on each of the river banks. The widest arch is 27.4m / 90 feet. These arches are supported on masonry piers which feature triangular cutwaters surmounted by semicircular masonry towers rising to parapet level where they form pedestrian refuges along the roadway, which rises to 16.5m (54 feet) above the water and is 8.7m (29 feet) wide.

Construction took four years, with the bridge built in two halves. At this point the river was sufficiently wide and shallow that the channel could be diverted around the section being built.

Formally opened on 29th March 1809, it carried the main road between Perth and Inverness. Costs exceeded the initial estimate reaching more than £30,000 and, although the government provided a grant, most was met by the landowner, John Murray (4th Duke of Atholl, 1755 - 1830), who was allowed to levy tolls. Local people resented the toll, especially after the opening of Dunkeld & Birnam Railway Station on the opposite bank from the village in 1856, and there were regular riots with the toll-gates thrown into the river. The toll was eventually abolished when responsibility for the bridge was taken on by Perth County Council in 1879.

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