Silver Jubilee Bridge


Silver Jubilee Bridge

Infobox_Bridge
bridge_name= The Silver Jubilee Bridge


caption= Inbound to Liverpool John Lennon Airport
official_name=
also_known_as= Runcorn Widnes Bridge
carries= road traffic and pedestrians
crosses= The River Mersey at Runcorn Gap
locale= connects Runcorn and Widnes
maint= Halton Borough Council
id=
design= compression arch suspended-deck bridge
mainspan= 330 meters
length=
width=
clearance=
below=
traffic=
open= 1961
closed=
toll=None
troll=
map_cue=
map_

map_text=
map_width=
lat= 53.346158
long= -2.73772

The Silver Jubilee Bridge is a compression arch suspended-deck bridge bridge built in 1961 between Runcorn and Widnes (Widnes historically being part of Lancashire), which are both now part of ceremonial Cheshire. The A533 crosses the bridge and suffers heavily from congestion at peak hours especially when there are roadworks. It is a grade II listed building. [cite web |url=http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/search/details.aspx?pid=1&id=56066 |title=Images of England: Runcorn-Widnes Road Bridge |accessdate=2007-12-16 |publisher=English Heritage ]

History

Ferry crossings have been recorded at this spot as early as the 12th Century.

Work on this bridge started in 1954 and in 1961 it was opened to the public by Princess Alexandra of Kent. The bridge was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by Dorman Long.

The original construction was a two lane road traffic bridge built to replace the Runcorn Widnes Transporter Bridge.

In 1975 the bridge was widened to four lanes to cope with increased traffic demands.

In 1977 the bridge was renamed from the Runcorn Widnes Bridge to the Silver Jubilee Bridge in honour of Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee.

Location

The bridge spans the Runcorn Gap which is a narrowing of the River Mersey and links the towns of Runcorn and Widnes.

The bridge is the first over road crossing of the Mersey. There are two toll tunnels closer to Liverpool. The bridge however is free to cross.

Construction

The 'Silver Jubilee Bridge' is built from approximately 6,000 tonnes of steel but in combination with all the other building materials including the vehicle deck and the approach viaducts its total weight approaches 10,000 tonnes. At the time of its construction it cost nearly £3 million to build.

The bridge is one of the largest of its kind worldwide with a main span of 330m and its crown being approximately 86m above sea level. It is the largest bridge of its type in the United Kingdom and its proportions are approximately 2/3rds the size of the world renowned Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The bridge is lime green in colour and is continually being painted. It takes on average five years to paint, end to end. To fully repaint the bridge from scratch would use anything up to 50,000 litres of paint.

The bridge was constructed using suspended cantilever construction with the aid of temporary towers and ties, to support the structure and reduce the hogging moments at the bases during construction. This form of construction is avoided in many parts of the world where high winds are frequent, due to the risk of collapse during construction.

Future crossings

It has been confirmed that the bridge itself will become a toll bridge when the larger proposed crossing, the Mersey Gateway, up-river near Fiddlers Ferry Power Station comes to fruition. This is because the government will not fund the whole cost of building the new bridge.

The local council, Halton Borough Council, after many years of study and consultation has now been given permission to build a new crossing. Funding for the Mersey Gateway of up to £209m will come from the government with the rest being sourced from the private sector.

Popular culture

The bridge features heavily in three popular TV series, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Drop Dead Gorgeous and Merseybeat.

Notes

Further reading

* "The Bridging of Runcorn Gap", Halton Borough Council, 1978
* Starkey, H. F. "Old Runcorn", Halton Borough Council, 1990.
* Thompson, Dave. "Bridging the Mersey: A Pictorial History", European Library, Zaltbommel, 2000.
* Thompson, Dave. "Bridging Us Together: The Story of Runcorn-Widnes Bridge", Dave Thompson, 2001.

ee also

*Listed buildings in Runcorn, Cheshire

External links

* [http://www.merseycrossing.co.uk Merseycrossing]
* [http://www.halton-borough.gov.uk/schools/localstudies/bridge.htm The Silver Jubilee Bridge]



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