Conservation

The Union Chain Bridge has stood majestically spanning the River Tweed for 200 years. While the bridge has been maintained, for the purposes of providing a public access route, it is in need of urgent repair and conservation. The Union Chain Bridge: Crossing Borders, Inspiring Communities project aims to restore the bridge to its former glory so that it can continue to serve border communities for generations to come.

The repair and conservation of the bridge will include:

  • replacement of the chain anchorages with new rock anchors and anchor block;
  • removal of the wire rope and associated hangers installed in 1902/3;
  • the principal hangers will be replaced with mild steel replicas, maintaining the exact profile of the originals;
  • the deck timber supports and angles will be replaced;
  • the deck boards will be re-used or replaced as appropriate.  A narrower vehicle carriageway and wider footways will lower speed and stress on the structure while improving pedestrian access and safety;
  • the existing handrails and railings will be conserved and moved in-board so that the hangers do not pass through it, thereby removing fatigue stresses. A new section of handrail will be installed in the central section to comply with safety requirements;
  • the English-side deck flap will be replaced;
  • a new four-coat paint system will be applied;
  • the towers on both sides will be repointed with lime mortar and stones will be repaired or replaced as necessary;
  • and the chains will be disassembled, using specialist winches on or near the masonry towers. The chains will then be repaired and painted off-site and reassembled back into their original position.

The repair and conservation of the Union Chain Bridge will provide engineering spectacles and we hope to share and record the restoration process with our local communities, learners, enthusiasts and researchers. Updates on the project can be found on our News and Blog pages.