Erskine Bridge

Erskine Bridge

Infobox Bridge
bridge_name = Erskine Bridge

caption= View of the Erskine Bridge from the Clyde Walkway.
official_name = Erskine Bridge
locale = Erskine, Scotland
carries = Motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians
crosses = River Clyde
open = 2 July 1971
traffic = ~26,000 vehicles
design = Box girder bridge
toll = Free
mainspan = 524 m (1719 ft)
width = Dual two-lane carriageway, two cycle/footpaths (total width 33 m)
coordinates= coord|55|55|13|N|4|27|44|W|region:GB_type:landmark|display=inline,title
The Erskine Bridge is a cable-stayed box girder bridge spanning the River Clyde in west central Scotland, connecting West Dunbartonshire with Renfrewshire. During construction of the bridge, a major collapse of the West Gate Bridge in Australia, a bridge of a similar construction, saw re-calculations in the design and it was found that it would fail to meet in the middle. As a result two large cable-stays were added to the box girder structure as support.

Until late 2007, it was a toll road.

The bridge was designed by William Brown and opened on 2 July 1971 by HRH Princess Anne. It has a 524 m main span and two 68 m approach spans and is 38 m high and 1310m (4300 ft) long. The ceremonial plaque of the opening can be viewed on the railings of the western footpath, at the centre of the main span.

The bridge connects the M8 motorway at Erskine in Renfrewshire on the south side to the A82 road at Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the northern side. The bridge itself is the A898 road and its short approach from the south is the M898 motorway. The Erskine Bridge is the most downstream of all the Clyde bridges, and is the last point at which the estuary can be crossed by road. Its main function is to divert traffic away from Glasgow and the urban stretches of the A82 which run through the city's West End and outer suburbs. As a result, the bridge is heavily used by tourist traffic bound for Loch Lomond and the north west Highlands.

As part of a trunk road, it is the responsibility of the Scottish Executive, and was one of only three toll bridges in Scotland when the tolls were abolished on 31 March 2006 – the others being the Forth Road Bridge and the Tay Road Bridge, where tolls were abolished on 11 February 2008. The bridge had (briefly) been free of charge before - in 2001 an oversight caused the legislative order enforcing the toll to lapse and drivers crossed uncharged until the new order was enforced.

Its current traffic levels are estimated at 26,000 vehicles per day. For many years the bridge was considered something of a white elephant given its elaborate design yet relatively low traffic levels compared to the congested Kingston Bridge further upstream. It is expected to have a major increase in traffic since toll removal.

On 4 August 1996 the bridge was damaged when an oil rig being towed down the River Clyde collided with the deck. The bridge re-opened to pedestrians and cyclists on 22 August, to cars and motorcycles on 30 August and to Heavy Goods Vehicles on 22 December 1996. The cost of the repairs was GBP 3.6 million with a further GBP 700,000 in lost revenue from tolls.

An often overlooked feature of the bridge are four public telephone boxes situated on the twin footpaths running adjacent to the roadway on either side of the river, in addition to the regular 'SOS' phones seen on motorways. Each kiosk features an advert from the Samaritans and are provided as a service to those who may be considering committing suicide.

External links

* [ Erskine Bridge Accounts 2003-04] (pdf)
* [ Gallery of Erskine Bridge photos]
* [ BBC News article about the removal of the toll]
* [ Road to Nowhere: A898]

ee also

*List of places in West Dunbartonshire

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