30 June 2010

Scottish Bridges: 9. Glasgow Bridge

Moving eastwards from the South Portland Street Bridge, the next crossing of the River Clyde in Glasgow is Glasgow Bridge.

The present structure was built in 1899 by Blyth and Westland engineers, as a wider replacement of Thomas Telford's 1836 bridge (itself a replacement for a bridge of 1772).

As masonry arch bridges go, it's not a brilliant design. The segmental arch ring seems to me to come too close to the parapet, touching the stringcourse and breaking up the spandrel wall. The result is that the arch looks flattened at its crown. It doesn't look quite right, but historic photos do seem to make clear that it's identical to Telford's original design.

The bridge piers each incorporate three secondary transverse arches, presumably to reduce loads on the foundations.

The night-time lighting is much better than at the South Portland Street Bridge. The blue intrados to the arches contrasts well with the white bridge piers and balustrades. It's a shame that one arch is unlit along with several of the piers, but that's just a lack of maintenance.

Behind this bridge, you can see the 2nd Caledonian Railway Bridge, which wasn't illuminated, so I didn't take any photos of it, nor the George the Fifth Bridge, another arched highway bridge immediately to the east (this time in concrete with faux masonry facades).

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