The Forth Bridge Edinburgh Project




Network Rail


Infrastructure/ Bridge / Railway


The Forth Bridge is a cantilever railway bridge across the Firth of Forth in the east of Scotland, 9 miles (14 kilometres) west of central Edinburgh. Completed in 1890, it is considered as a symbol of Scotland (having been voted Scotland's greatest man-made wonder in 2016), and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was designed by the English engineers Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker. It is sometimes referred to as the Forth Rail Bridge (to distinguish it from the adjacent Forth Road Bridge), although this has never been its official name.

Construction of the bridge began in 1882 and it was opened on 4 March 1890 and has a total length of 8,094 feet (2,467 m). When it opened it had the longest single cantilever bridge span in the world, until 1919 when the Quebec Bridge in Canada was completed. It continues to be the world's second-longest single cantilever span, with a span of 1,709 feet (521 m).


Vital statistics for a marvel of Victorian engineering

  • The highest point of the Forth Bridge stands 110 metres above high water and 137 metres above its foundations

  • 53,000 tonnes of steel and 6.5 million rivets were used to construct the Forth Bridge

  • The Forth Bridge's piers are constructed from 120,000 cubic yards of concrete and masonry, faced with 2 ft thick granite

  • 200 trains use the bridge every day, carrying 3 million passengers each year

  • The total painted area of the Forth Bridge is 230,000 sq metres, requiring 240,000 litres of paint

  • There are 1,040 lights installed on the Forth Bridge, using approximately 35-40,000 metres of cable

  • 57 lives were lost during the construction of the Forth Bridge

  • At the height of its construction, more than 4,000 men were employed

  • The construction of the bridge resulted in an unbroken East Coast railway route from London to Aberdeen.


The Forth Road Bridge has approximately 10km of under deck walkways, which engineering, maintenance and inspection teams use on a daily basis to carry out routine inspection and maintenance. These walkways were installed in the early 1980s and were in need of refurbishment to extend their life and improve their loading capacity.

Following the successful completion of Phase 1, which was undertaken earlier in 2017, Phase 2 works will be undertaken to replace components that have reached the end of their service life and increase the system's load carrying capacity.


In order to reduce the environmental impact of the project, the existing steelwork is being “upcycled” so that it can be reused and last for years to come.


Kite was proud to be part of this project by supplying the project with GRP moulded grating to be used as an alternative solution for the long steel panels of the walkways.These panels were customised and fitted based on clients’ requirements on the walkway. This product secured safe walkways for technicians and engineers to run their daily checks on an anti-slip surface with superior corrosion resistance compared to traditional galvanised steel grating. The best advantage acquired by implementing GRP moulded grating plates is noticed on the difference of weight this product delivered as the used steel quantities became less.


Kite also provided technical support in terms of ensuring the delivery of standard GRP grating to all parts of the site including the specially designed hanging scaffolds which are suspended from the underside of the bridge deck.

Based on results noted during Phase 1 it is anticipated that 97% of the existing steelwork will be reused during the works - significantly reducing the cost and environmental impact.


Call Kite's team on 0131 333 4413 to discover how we can help with your next project. Alternatively, submit your email address and we will get in touch shortly.

Thanks for submitting!