Plans dating back nearly 200 years for a bridge bearing a striking resemblance to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing have been unearthed by researchers.

A sketch drawn by engineer and surveyor James Anderson in 1818 – shows a suspension road bridge with its support extending as a straight line from towers.

The "Bridge of Chains" over the Firth of Forth is eerily similar to the brand new £1.35 billion Queensferry Crossing but plans were not deemed feasible at the time.

Loading article content

It would have cost between £175,000 and £200,000 – around £840 million in today's money – to make the Edinburgh-born engineer's dreams a reality.

The remarkable plans for a roadway linking North and South Queensferry were proposed 72 years before completion of the iconic Forth Bridge.

Anderson proudly suggested his bridge would "facilitate the communication between the southern and northern divisions of Scotland".

The plans were uncovered by Bruce Gittings while he was carrying out research for a project to record every settlement and landmark in Scotland.

According to Mr Gittings, maintaining the remarkable geographical, historical and educational resource is a never ending process.

Mr Gittings, of the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, said that the design was beyond the engineering capabilities of the time.

He said: "It is great to be able to add the Queensferry Crossing to the Gazetteer, and important to remember Anderson's pioneering work.

"His design was beyond the engineering capabilities of the time, as evidenced by the collapse of the Tay Bridge in a storm in 1879 and of the Chain Pier at Trinity in Edinburgh - on which Anderson also worked – in 1898."