THE Victorian icon is to have its girders strengthened and a full facelift, but the revamp also creates the chance to clear the landmark of the clutter that blights it once and for all.

Conservationists say the two years of disruption on another key thoroughfare in Edinburgh city centre could be made a little less painful for residents and road users if it brings a better bridge to navigate by its 2020 completion.

It is proposed the pavement is widened by two feet and unnecessary street obstacles eradicated.

Read more: Iconic bridge in line for £22m makeover after chunks fall off​

That’s a move that will be welcomed by the community council, the area’s councillor, and the conservation body that is tasked with policing Edinburgh’s Unesco World Heritage Site.

HeraldScotland: North Bridge in Edinburgh will close for extensive refurbishment causing disruption to traffic and pedestrians

It will also include anti-terror measures such as the installation of “heritage style” bollards on each path.

It is accepted that there will be some degree of disruption as the extensive refurbishment work is carried out, but the final outcome could be worth it for reisidents and tourists alike.

Read more: Iconic bridge in line for £22m makeover after chunks fall off​

This is according to Nicholas Hotham, of Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, who says: “North Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in the city and creates a powerful visual link between the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh.

“The Category A-listed structure is notable for both its elegant three-span design."

He said: “The embellished detail on the cast iron facades and stone piers, as well as the important King’s Own Scottish Borderers war memorial.

HeraldScotland: A-boards outside stores in Edinburgh. Picture: Gordon Terris

"We urge the council to take this opportunity to also widen the footpaths, remove unnecessary signage, and implement more appropriate lighting, so that the full glory of the bridge structure is revealed”.