- Humber Bridge
bridge_name = Humber Bridge
caption = View from south side
carries = Motor vehicles (on the A15), pedestrians
East Riding of Yorkshire/ North Lincolnshire
maint = The Humber Bridge Board
design = Suspension
mainspan = convert|1410|m|ft|0|abbr=on (fifth-largest in the world)
length = convert|2220|m|ft|0|abbr=on
traffic = 120,000 vehicles per week
open = To traffic on
24 June 1981
17 July 1981
toll = Car: £2.70
map_cue = Location within United Kingdom
map_width = 120px
lat = 53.7114
long = -0.4485The Humber Bridge is the fifth-largest single-span
suspension bridgein the world, near Kingston upon Hullin England. It spans the Humber(the estuaryformed by the rivers Trent and Ouse) between Barton-upon-Humberon the south bank and Hessleon the north bank, connecting the East Riding of Yorkshireand North Lincolnshire. The bridge carries an average of 120,000 vehicles per week,cite web | url= http://www.humberbridge.co.uk/trafficstatistics.php | title= Traffic statistics 1996–2006 | work= The Humber Bridge Board | accessdate= 2007-12-26] which pay a toll of up to £2.70 each way. By comparison, the Forth Road Bridgecarries an estimated 224,000 vehicles per week.
Plans for a bridge were originally drawn up in the 1930s, and were revised in 1955, but work did not begin until
July 26 1972. The Humber Bridge Act, promoted by Kingston Upon Hull Corporation, was passed in 1959. This established the Humber Bridge Board in order to manage and raise funds to build the bridge and buy the land required for the approach roads.
However raising the necessary funding proved impossible until the 1966 Hull North by-election. To save his government, Labour Prime Minister
Harold Wilsonprevailed upon his Minister of Transport Barbara Castleto sanction the building of the bridge.
Dismay at the long wait for a crossing led to the writing by Christopher Rowe of a protest song entitled "The Humber Bridge". [ [http://www.goole-on-the-web.org.uk/main.php?page=song Songs for Humberside] ] The bridge was finally opened officially by the Queen on
17 July 1981. The consulting engineers for the project were Freeman Fox & Partners— now Hyder Consulting. The main contractor was Sir William Arrol & Co.at that time part of Northern Engineering Industriesplc. [ [http://en.structurae.de/structures/data/index.cfm?ID=s0000290 Structurae database] ]
With a centre span of convert|1410|m|ft|0 and a total length of convert|2220|m|ft|0, the Humber Bridge was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world for 16 years.
The bridge's surface takes the form of a
dual carriagewaywith a lower-level footpath on both sides, although traffic is often restricted to one lane both ways. There is a permanent convert|50|mi/h|km/h|-1|abbr=on speed limit on the full length of the bridge.
Each tower consists of a pair of hollow vertical concrete columns, each convert|155.5|m|ft|0 tall and tapering from convert|6|m|ft|0 square at the base to convert|4.5|m|ft|1 x convert|4.75|m|ft|1 at the top. The bridge is designed to tolerate constant motion and bends more than convert|3|m|ft|0 in winds of convert|80|mph|km/h|0. The towers, although both vertical, are not parallel, being convert|36|mm|in|1 further apart at the top than the bottom as a result of the
curvature of the earth. [ cite web | url= http://www.humberbridge.co.uk/interest.php | title= Interesting Facts | work= Humber Bridge Board | accessdate=2006-09-04 ]
The north tower is on the bank, and has foundations down to convert|8|m|ft|0. The south tower is in the water, and descends to convert|36|m|ft|0 as a consequence of the shifting
sandbanks that make up the estuary.
There is enough wire in the suspension cables to circle the
The bridge held the record for the world's longest single-span suspension bridge for 16 years from its opening in June 1981 until the opening of the
Great Belt Bridgein June 1997 and was relegated to third place with the opening of the Akashi-Kaikyo Bridgein April 1998. It is now the fifth longest single-span suspension bridge after two longer span bridges opened in China, the Xihoumen Bridgeand the Runyang Bridge. It remains the longest bridge in the world that you can cross on foot. The bridge twice forms part of the route of the popular Humber Bridge Half Marathon. [ [http://www.humber-half.org.uk/ Humber Bridge Half Marathon website] ]
The road-distance between Hull and
Grimsbywas reduced by nearly convert|50|mi|km|0 as a consequence of the bridge. Prior to the bridge opening, commuters would go from one bank to the other either by using the ferrythat ran between Hull and New Holland, Lincolnshireor driving via the M62, M18 and M180 motorways, crossing the River Ouse near Goole(connected to the Humber) in the process. There was also a short-lived hovercraft service; Minerva and Mercury linked Hull Pier and Grimsby Docks from 17 February 1968to 21 October 1968, but suffered frequent mechanical failures.
Incidents and suicides
More than 200 incidents of people jumping or falling from the bridge have taken place since it was opened in 1981 with only five surviving. [cite web | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/humber/6747383.stm | title= Bridge jump attempts prevented | date=
13 June 2007| accessdate= 2007-06-13 | work= BBC News ]
Between 1990 and February 2001 the Humber Rescue Team launched its boat 64 times to deal with people falling or jumping off the bridge. [cite web
title = ALL IN THE SAME BOAT
work = Hull in print
publisher = Hull City Council
url = http://www.hullcc.gov.uk/hullinprint/archive/febmar2001/to_the_rescue.html
accessdate = 2007-03-21 ]
Notable incidents include the cases of a
West Yorkshirewoman and her two-year-old daughter who fell off the bridge in 2005, [cite web | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/humber/4085000.stm | title= Pair recover from bridge plunge | date= 12 June 2006| accessdate= 2006-09-04 | work= BBC News ] a mother who killed herself and her 12-year old son with Rett's syndromein April 2006, [cite web | url= http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/humber/4958012.stm | title= Bridge-fall son unlawfully killed | date= 11 August 2006| accessdate= 2006-09-04 | work= BBC News ] and that of a man jumping from the bridge to his death on the A63 roadbelow in September 2006. As a result, plans have been considered to construct a suicide barrieror introduce higher fencing along the walkways of the bridge; trials have been held, with design constraints as well as cost cited as the reason for non-implementation so far.
Throughout the year many people commit or attempt to commit suicide on the Humber Bridge, so local NHS authorities have specialist counsellors and doctors on call.Fact|date=February 2007.
Similar incidents happen at bridges all over the world.
AADTfor the bridge and the resultant failure of the tolls to clear the debts causes them to remain in place.
The bridge has a toll charge of £2.70 (as of
10 May 2008) for cars. The Humber Bridge is the only major toll bridge in the United Kingdomto charge tolls to motorcycles(£1.20), others such as the Forth Road Bridge, Severn crossings and the Dartford Crossingare all free. In 2004 a large number of motorcyclists held a slow-pay protest, taking off gloves and helmets and paying the toll in large denomination bank notes. [cite web
title = Humber Bridge Protest - October 12th 2004
url = http://www.motorbike-search-engine.co.uk/04%20news/12_10_04.html
accessdate = 2007-03-21 ] Police reported a tailback of convert|4|mi|km|0 as a consequence of the protest. Despite receiving several letters in support of the removal of tolls, they remain in place for motorcycles.
In 1996, the British Parliament passed the
Humber Bridge (Debts) Act 1996to reorganise the Humber Bridge Board's debts in order to ensure the Bridge could be safely maintained. Although a significant proportion of the debt was suspended in that refinancing arrangement there was no "write off" of debt and the suspended portion is being gradually re-activated as the Bridge Board pays off the remainder of the active debt.
In 2006 a
Private Member's Bill— sponsored by Cleethorpes Labour MP Shona McIsaac— relating to the Humber Bridge, was introduced into Parliament. [cite web | url= http://www.yorkshiretoday.co.uk/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=1084&ArticleID=1321965 | work= Yorkshire Post | title= MP in Commons move to exempt hospital patients from bridge toll | date= 20 January 2006| accessdate=2007-06-13 ] The Humber Bridge Bill would have made amendments to the Humber Bridge Act 1959"requiring the secretary of state to give directions to members of the Humber Bridge Board regarding healthcare and to review the possibility of facilitating journeys across the Humber Bridge in relation to healthcare". The aim was to allow people who travel from the Southbank to the Northbank for medical treatment to cross the bridge without paying the toll, and to allow the Secretary of State for Transport to appoint two members of the Humber Bridge board to represent the interests of the NHS. Even though the Bill received cross-party support (it was co-sponsored by Shadow Home Secretary David Davis, and supported by all other MPs representing North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire) it ran out of time later that year. [cite web
title = Humber Bridge Bill (Failed Bill 2005/06 session)
work = ePolitix.com
4 August 2005
url = http://www.epolitix.com/EN/Legislation/200508/5ea026d0-f905-4772-9910-51d65ef9f9ae.htm
accessdate = 2007-03-21 ]
In early 2007, users of the bridge began a campaign to persuade the Government to cancel the outstanding debt, and to enable the Bridge Board to reduce tolls. This included a petition and a website. [cite web
title = Petitions: Cancel Humber Bridge debt and reduce tolls
work = Official 10 Downing Street Website
url = http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Humber-Bridge
accessdate = 2007-02-14 ] [ [http://www.humbertollaction.org.uk Humber Toll Action Group website] ] A protest at the bridge on
1 September 2007was supported by the local [http://www.pig.org.uk/html/northern_lincolnshire_.html Cancer Patients Involvement Group] , the Road Haulage Association, Yorkshire and Humberside MEP Diana Wallisand local business and council representatives. [cite web
title = Protest over Humber Bridge tolls
work = BBC News
1 September 2007
url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/humber/6973691.stm
accessdate = 2007-09-10 ] The government responded to the petition on
14 January 2008, stating that "Concessions or exemptions from tolls on the Humber Bridge are a matter for the Humber Bridge Board." [cite web
title = Humber-Bridge - epetition reply
work = Official 10 Downing Street Website
url = http://www.pm.gov.uk/output/Page14247.asp
accessdate = 2008-01-15 ]
Images of the Bridge
* [http://www.humberbridge.co.uk Humber Bridge Board]
* [http://www.humber-half.org.uk/ Humber Bridge Half Marathon] , annual race across the bridge
* [http://www.humber-rescue.org.uk/ Humber Rescue] , based underneath the bridge
type = suspension
start = 1981
end = 1998
previous = Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
current = Humber Bridge
next = Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge
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