Scotland is good at bridges – and the bridges over the Firth of Forth are among the greatest of all. The new Queensferry Crossing is not just an economic lifeline but a graceful and elegant tribute to Scottish bridge engineering.
But it is the magnificent Forth Bridge, completed in 1890 after eight years of labour, that has been the source of greatest inspiration for bridge builders across the world.
This most awesome and majestic of crossings has become a wonderful Scottish icon, instantly recognised across the globe. Two years ago it was accorded Unesco World Heritage status. How fitting the unveiling of the plaque should come less than two weeks ahead of the opening of the nearby Queensferry Crossing.
The original crossing has served as an inspiration for the best, not just in bridge building but across civil engineering generally: an outstanding reminder that works to improve our infrastructure are more than about functionality but should also seek to be a triumph of first class design. As Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, noted, the Forth Bridge “is a true marvel of Scottish engineering.”