The current North Bridge is 525 feet (160 m) long and has three spans of arched girders each 175 feet (53 m) feet in length. It is 75 feet (23 m) wide. It was constructed from 1894–1897 by Sir William Arrol & Co., which company is also noted for construction of the Forth Bridge. The design of the ornamentation was by the City architect of the time, Robert Morham.
The foundation stone was laid on 25 May 1896 by the then Lord Provost (the Rt. Hon Andrew McDonald, with Masonic ceremonial. A medal was struck commemorating the opening of the bridge on 15 September 1897. The medal shows a view of the bridge with trains underneath and on the obverse a bust of the by then knighted Sir Andrew McDonald, Lord Provost.
K.O.S.B. Memorial by Birnie Rhind, North Bridge
Situated on the bridge is a war memorial, by sculptor William Birnie Rhind which memorialises soldiers of the King's Own Scottish Borderers killed in campaigns between 1878 and 1902.
At the southern end of the bridge (where it meets the Royal Mile and South Bridge, in the Edinburgh's Old Town) are substantial buildings whose main entrances are at carriageway level but which also have entrances in the valley below. Those on the west side are The Scotsman Hotel, former headquarters of The Scotsman newspaper, alongside a block of commercial premises and flats ("Royal Mile Mansions"). That on the east housed Patrick Thomson's department store from 1906 until 1976 when its then owner the House of Fraser rebranded it as Arnotts department store. The store closed in 1981 and the building was redeveloped as a hotel and smaller shops.
At the northern end of the bridge, where it meets Princes Street in the New Town, on the west side is the Balmoral Hotel, originally built as the North British Hotel, the North British Railway's hotel serving Waverley Station, which lies below. On the east side is Waverley Gate, originally the Edinburgh General Post Office, now