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  The Three Bridges of Bonar Bridge

In 1803 a parliamentary commission drew up plans to build over 500 miles of roads throughout the Highlands. These plans included a number of bridges, including in Sutherland crossings at Bonar, Loch Fleet and Helmsdale.

The famous engineer and architect Thomas Telford was chosen to design the bridge at Bonar and construction work began in September of 1811. The bridge consisted of two stone arches at either end and an elegant main span 150 feet wide made of iron. Work was finished in November 1812 and the total cost was almost £14,000. It was then that Bonar - or Bonar Bridge as the village would henceforth be known - became an important junction in Sutherland's road network.

Telford's bridge stood for almost 80 years, but on the 29th of January 1892 it was washed away in a flood. The bridge was a vital crossing point so the County Councils of Ross & Cromarty and Sutherland quickly appointed the firm of William Arrol to construct a replacement. The new bridge was officially opened on the 6th of July 1893. Built in the Victorian style with castellated piers and sturdy iron work it may not have been quite as elegant as Telford's bridge but it served its purpose well for - coincidentally - another 80 years.

Then, in the early 1970s with increasing traffic on what was then the main A9 trunk road, the decision was taken to replace the bridge with a new, more suitable construction. The current bridge was opened on the 14th of December 1973. It is a single-span, all metal bridge with the deck suspended from a tall, sweeping single arch. It is a modern looking design, even today, but it has a stark elegance to it and over the years it has become a well known local landmark, much like its predecessors.

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