Tipping The Wink (Gateshead Millennium Bridge A.k.a The Winking Eye Bridge, Newcastle-Gateshead, UK)- Guest Column

This last guest column looks at Milenium Bridge- in Newcastle. While the UK had built several Millenial Bridges, including its famous one in London, this tied arch bridge, whose construction is similar to the one at Center Street in Des Moines (Iowa, USA), this one is unique because of not only its curved roadway but also its movable function. How that works can be explained by the writer of Beauty of Transport. Enjoy! 😀

With a steep sided river valley at its heart, Newcastle-Gateshead (Newcastle on the north side of the River Tyne, Gateshead on the south) must be something approaching paradise for the bridge enthusiast. At the heart of this twin-city conurbation in the north-east of England, the Tyne is crossed by seven bridges at high and low levels within a remarkably short length of river. They embody a wide range of styles and ages. The double-deck High Level Bridge of 1849 crosses the river on elegant and lofty stone piers, while the 1981 Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge, a metal truss bridge on concrete pillars, provides passengers with one of the most extraordinary experiences to be had on any metro network. And then there is the Tyne Bridge of 1928, a beautiful through-arch bridge which has become an icon of Newcastle, much as the Harbour Bridge (which has many design similarities with the Tyne Bridge) has become an icon of Sydney, Australia. The line up of bridges over the Tyne is one of the great transport views of the world, and a beautiful piece of large scale public art. It might not have been designed as such, but that’s what it is. I will brook no argument on the matter.

Bridges over the Tyne. Tyne Bridge in the foreground, withe the swing bridge. Photo by Tagishsimon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Bridges over the Tyne. Tyne Bridge in the foreground, with the swing bridge (in red), the High Level Bridge (stone pillars and grey deck sections), and the Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge (blue-grey trusswork), behind. Photo by Tagishsimon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

This week’s entry is about none of the bridges in the picture above, however. Instead, this seems like a good opportunity to redress a long-standing failure to cover cycle and pedestrian transport infrastructure. This week’s entry, then, is about the newest of the bridges over the Tyne, easily one of the most attractive built in the UK in the last couple of decades, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, spanning the River Tyne [CC BY 2.0] via this flickr page
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, spanning the River Tyne. Photo by Les Bessant [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0] via this flickr page

In the run up to the Millennium (1999/2000 or 2000/2001 depending on your level of pedantry) a number of building projects were commissioned to commemorate the beginning of the third millennium. Some superstar architects like Lords Foster and Rogers were busy in London with projects that attracted some degree of controversy (the Millennium Bridge and the Millennium Dome respectively, though both have now settled down to become integral parts of the cityscape). Architecture practice Wilkinson Eyre, however, turned their attention north and delivered one of the most quietly successful of the Millennium building projects, the Tyne Millennium Bridge. It opened in 2001.

Click on the link below to read more about this bridge:

Tipping the Wink (Gateshead Millennium Bridge a.k.a the Winking Eye Bridge, Newcastle-Gateshead, UK)

Note: This article was released on 14 August, 2014.


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