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The Tyne's Blinking Eye
Gateshead Millennium Bridge (Gateshead)
Member Name: ks.h
Gateshead Millennium Bridge (Gateshead)
Date: 07/05/02, updated on 07/08/03 (1287 review reads)
Advantages: For Pedestrians and Cyclists only
Nothing will ever replace the feeling of seeing the Tyne Bridge but along with the Angel of the North the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is also starting to have the same impact on people of the region.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge or the Blinking Eye as it is know in the North East is the first opening bridge to be built across the River Tyne for more than one hundred years and it has attracted worldwide attention because of its unique design.
The world's first tilting bridge is the latest addition to the Tyne's famous collection of bridges, which give the area one of the most instantly recognisable skylines in Europe.
The Bridge was built at a cost of £22 million, almost half paid for by Lottery money through the Millennium Commission and Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Gifford and Partners Engineers designed it. The job of constructing the bridge was given to Gateshead based Construction Company Harbour and General and its sub contractors, who started work in May 1999.
It uses a world-first tilting mechanism to open and close, turning on pivots on both sides of the river to form a spectacular gateway arch to allow shipping to pass underneath on route up the Tyne.
The Bridge weighs more that eight hundred and fifty tonnes and the construction used enough steel to make sixty-four double decker buses. It is four hundred and thirteen feet wide (one hundred and twenty six metres) but was made precisely to a tolerance of just one eight of an inch (three millimetres) and the main arch rises one hundred and four feet (fifty metres) above the river.
There are two concrete piers on each side of the river that hide the mass
ive hydraulic rams, pivots and motors required to open and close the bridge and each opening or closing takes four minutes. It is powered by eight electric motors totalling four hundred and forty kilowatts or five hundred and eighty nine horsepower - that's more power that the fastest sports cars like a Ferrari F50.
Any litter dropped on the bridge automatically rolls into special traps at each end every time it opens and closes ensuring the river does not become polluted.
The Bridge provides a footpath and cycle way across the Tyne linking Newcastle Quayside to Gateshead Quays and the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art development; it is the final piece in the jigsaw of what will soon be one square mile of visitor attractions on both sides of the Tyne.
One of the world's largest floating cranes dramatically lowered the fully constructed bridge into place on Monday, 20th November 2000 and after on site work was completed it was opened to the public at 3.00pm on Monday, 17th September 2001.
The stunning pedestrian and cycle bridge arcs gracefully out across the Tyne with it?s second arch dominating the skyline and it operates like the lid of a giant eye slowly opening to form a double arch under which ships can pass.
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is an amazing structure it's massive yet it looks so delicate and is a joy to walk over the bridge without being polluted by car and bus exhaust fumes.
During the evening the bridge becomes a true work of art when it is lit by a high tech light display able to create dazzling patterns in millions of colours, you could go every night of the week and see something different, it is a spectacular sight.
How to get to the Gateshead Millennium Bridge
Take the A1, leaving at the A184 sign posted Gateshead town centre and follow the signs.
To Newcastle Central Station and then follow the signs
for Quayside, it
's about a ten-minut
e walk from the railway station.
By Metro or Bus
To Gateshead Interchange and then follow the signs to Gateshead Quays, again about a ten-minute walk.
The Bridge is on the National Cycle Network's cross-country C2C (Sea to Sea) route.
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