ONE of West Dunbartonshire's most iconic landmarks has been awarded category A status by Historic Environment Scotland (HES), giving it the same protection as the likes of Edinburgh Castle and Glasgow Cathedral.

The record-breaking Erskine Bridge has been given the title after being recognised as being of "special architectural interest" by HES.

The bridge, which opened back in 1972, is one of the country's most architecturally and technically designed bridges of the post-war period, and has the longest cable-stayed span of its type in the world.

It is one of only three bridges in Scotland with a main span exceeding 300 metres.

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations at HES, said: "The Erskine Bridge is a state-of-the-art infrastructure landmark in Scotland for its time and is recognised for its structural simplicity, economy of materials and slender appearance.

"Its minimalistic single-cable design, which is exceptionally rare for a large-scale road bridge, combined with its largely unchanged appearance makes it one of the country's most innovative bridges of the 20th century, and we're delighted to recognise its national importance with this Category A status."

The decision to list the bridge, which spans the River Clyde between Erskine and Old Kilpatrick, follows on from a consultation launched by HES, Renfrewshire Council, West Dunbartonshire Council and Transport Scotland, where the public were invited to express their views on the landmark getting listed status.

It was part of a strategic and highly-ambitious expansion of the new motorway network in Scotland at the time and is directly associated with the period of transformation of Scotland's modern infrastructure in the 1960s.

Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said: “Scottish ministers, through Transport Scotland, have been responsible for the Erskine Bridge’s inspection and maintenance since 1971, so I am delighted that it has been recognised as a category A listed structure.

“This well-known landmark is testament to the engineers who designed it, as well as those who have worked on it over the years, and I congratulate everyone involved in this process for their efforts.”

The full designation report for the Erskine Bridge can be viewed on the HES portal.