The Gateshead Millenium Bridge is the world’s first and currently only tilting bridge and was designed by Gifford and Partners with Wilkinson Eyre .
The bridge is spanning the River Tyne in England between Gateshead’s Quays arts quarter on the south bank, and the Quayside of Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. The most amazing thing about this pedestrian and biker crossing of the Tyne River is that it appears as if an eye is winking whenever it is raised and lowered. Its innovative and unique design has won loads of awards since the Queen officially opened it in 2002.
The bridge not only serves a functional purpose as the River Tyne’s only foot and cycle bridge, but its grace and incredible engineering , attract a lot of tourists from all over the world. The bridge stands 45m high and spans 105m across the River Tyne.
Whilst small river craft can sail beneath the bridge, for larger craft the cable-stayed double arched structure pivots at the abutments through an angle of 40 degrees to give the 25m navigational clearance as specified by the client, Gateshead Borough Council. Powered by eight electric motors, it takes approximately four minutes to rotate the 850 tonne dead weight of the structure to its fully open position.
When raised the suspension cables lay horizontal holding the pair of arches together. Huge 14 tonne castings on either side support bearings which withstand the outward and radial thrusts imposed.
- Featured on a first class stamp in 2000.
- 36,000 people lined the banks of the River Tyne to watch the bridge tilt for the first time on 20th November 2000.
- Contains enough steel to make 64 double decker buses or 16 Chieftain tanks.
- Cost £22m to build.
- Each opening and closing takes four and a half minutes.
- Cleans up its own litter – anything dropped on the deck automatically rolls into special traps at each end of the bridge each time it opens.
- Can withstand a collision from a 4,000 tonne ship travelling at 4 knots.
- Has concrete foundations stretching to 30 metres, anchoring it to the river bed.
- Was lowered into place by Europe’s largest floating crane – Asian Hercules II.
- The very top of the arch stands 50 metres above the River Tyne when in its normal state.
- Weighs more than 800 tonnes.