St Asaph bridge
The present structure was built in 1770. Its design is attributed to Joseph Turner, whose other works included Ruthin jail. It consists of five arches of varying spans but arranged symmetrically. The arches span c.65 metres, providing plenty of space for water to pass even when the river Elwy bursts its banks. The masonry wedges, like ships’ prows, on the upstream side are cutwaters, to reduce the force of river water against the bridge’s piers. The bridge displays numerous decorative touches, such as the features picked out in sandstone. The plates on the tie bars, which reinforce the structure, bear a Fleur de Lys motif.
The bridge replaced an earlier wooden structure, which was a little further north and easily damaged by floods.
The photo on the right shows a procession crossing the bridge on Empire Day, May 1909. Two years earlier, on 21 May 1907, officials surveyed traffic at the bridge from 7am to 9pm and counted 82 motor cars, 845 cyclists, 390 carriages and 1,583 pedestrians.
A steel footbridge was built alongside the road bridge in 1968, to keep pedestrians away from the growing vehicular traffic. The footbridge partly obscures the bridge from the south. The best place to view the structure is from the riverside path on the north side.