The Graphic: Queensferry Crossing

Ahead of its landmark opening outside Edinburgh in May, get to grips with the new forth bridge — Scotland's biggest transport infrastructure project in a generation

By Amelia Duggan
Published 21 Mar 2017, 15:00 GMT, Updated 8 Jul 2021, 12:43 BST
Illustration: Daniel Bright

1// During routine archaeological excavations, remnants of a mesolithic-era dwelling were found on the south bank of the Forth. It has been dated to around 8300 BC, making it the earliest known dwelling in Scotland.

2// 23,000 miles of cabling will have been used. Laid out, that's enough to wrap around the Moon three-and-a-half times and very nearly long enough to span the circumference of Earth.

3// The three-tower, cable-stayed bridge will be 1.7 miles long, making it the longest of its kind in the world.

4// The bridge will be the tallest in the UK, towering 683ft above high tide — equivalent to 48 double-decker buses stacked on top of each other.

5// 150,000 tonnes of concrete will have been poured — almost as much as was used for London's Olympic Park and Athletes' Village.

In numbers:

42,000 tonnes: the amount of steel used in construction — the equivalent to 95 Boeing 747s.

10 million: the number of man hours needed to build the bridge (from autumn 2011 to completion in May).

£1.25bn: the investment by the Scottish government.

Rialto Bridge, Italy
The oldest bridge over Venice's Grand Canal, this 16th-century structure was designed by Antonio da Ponte. Michelangelo had been among the designers considered for the project.

Iron Bridge, UK
Erected over the River Severn in the 1770s, the world's first cast iron bridge marked a turning point in British engineering and is seen as a catalyst of the Industrial Revolution.

Brooklyn Bridge, USA
The first steel-wire suspension bridge was completed in 1883, connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan. It stood as a technological wonder in its day, and remains a cultural icon.

Øresund Bridge, Denmark & Sweden
This engineering marvel, connecting Copenhagen and Malmö, is a railway, a motorway and — for stretches — an underwater tunnel all in one.

Millau Viaduct, France
With a structural height of 1,125ft, this is the world's tallest bridge. It crosses the Tarn River in southern France, its towering pillars at times disappearing into the clouds.

Published in the April 2017 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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