The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Click to see full size. Photo © Sarah J Duncan
Photo © Sarah J Duncan

100 Buildings 100 Years

2002: Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Architect: Wilkinson Eyre
Location: South Shore Road, Gateshead, NE8 3AE

The Millennium Bridge is the world’s first and only tilting bridge, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects and engineered by Gifford. A grand demonstration of innovative precision engineering, it opens like a huge eye to allow ships to pass underneath and takes its place at the end of a line of distinguished bridges across the River Tyne.

It was spectacularly transported upriver and lowered into place by one of the world’s largest floating cranes, Asian Hercules II, with 36,000 people lining the banks of the Tyne to watch it tilt for the first time. 413 feet in length and 164 feet high in its normal state, the bridge is made up of two steel arches – one deck comprises the pedestrian and cycle path (an almost-horizontal curve, hanging from a series of suspension cables) whilst the other supporting deck forms an arc over the river. It acts as an important link between Newcastle and Gateshead and has significantly contributed to the rejuvenation of the Quayside area.

by Karen Topping

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