North Bridge Refurbishment, Edinburgh

We’re refurbishing one of Scotland’s most iconic structures to secure it for generations to come.

The 525-foot long, Grade A-listed North Bridge was originally constructed in the late 1800’s. After many years of heavy use, exposure to the elements and limited maintenance due to poor access, the iconic structure has started to crumble.

Due to the growing risk to both pedestrians and the railway that passes beneath the bridge, The City of Edinburgh Council commissioned Balfour Beatty to carry-out the refurbishment of the historic three-arch bridge via the SCAPE Scotland Civil Engineering framework.

Works include:

  • Structural steelwork repairs
  • Grit blasting and repainting of the structural steelwork
  • Repairs to the cast iron façades
  • Repairs to the bridge’s concrete deck
  • Improvements to the structural drainage systems
  • Replacement of expansion joints
  • Restoration and repairs to the King’s Own Scottish Borders War Memorial which is located on the east plinth of the bridge’s south pier
  • Installation of permanent platforms to improve access for future inspection and minor maintenance

Once completed the works will extend the lifespan of the bridge and remove the need for further maintenance work for approximately 25-years.

Managing complex logistics

The bridge sits above Waverley railway station and railway lines and provides a vital connection for both vehicles and pedestrians between the old and new towns, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

The logistics of maintaining access required careful consideration, collaboration and management. Utilising a suite of digital tools has helped us to mitigate and manage risk and minimise disruption to ensure successful project delivery. Using BIM we created a BIM Execution Plan to help inform buildability decisions and clash detection. 3D laser scanning and drones helped us to model the bridge to support the council with planning and support with future maintenance on the bridge.


local jobs created


SME spend


waste diverted from landfill

As part of our broader plans to create a people-focused Capital under the long-term City Centre Transformation programme, the road running over the bridge will eventually benefit from active travel improvements, connecting to our growing network of walking and cycling-friendly routes.

Councillor Lesley Macinnes

Transport and Environment Convener

The City of Edinburgh Council