The Connel Bridge is a cantilever steel bridge which links the small villages of Connel and North Connel at the sea-mouth of Loch Etive, around 5 miles from Oban.
The bridge was opened in 1903 to carry the Ballachulish branch of the Callender and Oban Railway and when completed, had a longer span than any other rail bridge in Britain excluding the Forth Road Bridge.
While the bridge was originally constructed to carry just the railway, in 1914 the bridge was modified to accommodate a lane of road traffic as well as the trains but both had to use it seperately so it was closed to cars when trains went across and vice versa.
When the branch line closed in 1966 the bridge was modified for road traffic and pedestrians but as the bridge wasn’t wide enough for 2 lanes, there were traffic lights installed on both ends of the bridge to enforce one-way traffic.
The bridge has a span of 524 feet between piers, but a clear span of 500 feet due to he supports which project from the piers towards the centre of the bridge. The suspended span is 232 feet long. The large span without supporting piers was created to accommodate the strong tidal currents of the Falls of Lora, just to the east of the bridge.
The Falls of Lora is a tidal rapid located near the bridge, at the seaward end of Loch Etive. This naturally occurring phenomenon is generated when the tidal level in the Firth of Lorn drops below the level of water in Loch Etive.
The Falls are a popular destination for kayakers and divers as well as a stunning sight for visitors and photographers. One of the best views of the falls is from the car park viewpoint in Connel village which is where our open-top tour stops briefly to allow customers to take photographs.