Mersey Gateway Bridge

Mersey Gateway Bridge

Date

25 August 2018

Location

Runcorn – Widnes, Cheshire
SJ 52369 84471; 53.35494°N, 2.71707°W

Information

The Mersey Gateway Bridge is a 2.3 km-long, 6-lane, cable-stayed bridge carrying the A533 road over the River Mersey and the Manchester Ship Canal. The £600 million bridge links Runcorn and Widnes and is maintained by Halton Borough Council. Construction of the bridge, designed by Knight Architects, commenced in 2014 and it opened in 2017. It was built to relieve congestion on the Runcorn through-arch bridge, which opened in 1961 and was renamed the Silver Jubilee Bridge in 1977. This in turn had replaced a Victorian steam-powered transporter bridge that could convey four cars at a time across the Mersey.

When the new bridge opened the old one was closed for refurbishment and it will reopen as a toll bridge (it was previously free to cross). The tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge itself operate using automatic number plate recognition and must be paid online within 24 hours. This has proved to be highly controversial with criticisms of unclear signposting. In the first month 50,000 motorists were issued with penalty charge notices for failure to pay the toll. In 2018 tribunals ruled that the tolls and penalties were in fact in breach of consumer and transport legislation because of improper implementation. The charges continue to be imposed, however, as the rulings were for specific cases and technically do not have general effect.

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Connel Bridge

Connel Bridge

Date

22 August 2018

Location

Connel, Argyll and Bute
NM 90936 34330; 56.45460°N, 5.39431°W

Information

Connel Bridge carries the A828 road over Loch Etive and links the villages of Connel and North Connel. The crossing is at the narrowest point of the sea loch at the tidal rapids The Falls of Lora, five miles from Oban. The bridge span between its piers is 160 m.

The Category B listed steel cantilever bridge was designed by English civil engineer John Wolf Barry (1836 – 1918) and was built by Glasgow contractors Arrol’s Bridge & Roof Company, who also constructed the Forth Bridge.

The bridge opened in 1903 to carry the Ballachulish branch line of the Callander and Oban Railway. A roadway was added next to the railway line in 1914 and when the branch line closed in 1966 the bridge was converted for pedestrian and road vehicle use only via a single-track roadway with traffic lights.

Transport Scotland is currently considering options for refurbishment of the structure over the next five years.

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Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry

Date

17 September 2017

Location

Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda
SH 62228 65513; 53.16883°N, 4.06249°W

Information

Princess May is one of the two surviving water balances at Penrhyn Quarry; the other is called Sebastopol and has been restored. Originally there were eight at the quarry… [Read more about the water balance and see more photographs from 2011 here]

Further Reading

Princess May Water Balance, Penrhyn Quarry;
Zip World Adventure Terminal;
Penrhyn Quarry

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings

Visitor Centre (converted Stables)

Date

26 August 2017

Location

Ditherington, Shrewsbury
SJ 49855 13826; 52.71974°N, 2.74382°W

Information

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings was previously featured here in GeoTopoi in December 2011. Since then there have various changes at the site, the most significant being the opening in November 2015 in the converted offices and stables of a Visitor Centre. The opening of the centre is the first phase of a restoration project undertaken by a partnership between Historic England, Friends of Flaxmill Maltings and Shropshire Council. The second phase, which will result in a mixed-use redevelopment of the historic buildings, is proceeding thanks to the subvention of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Other changes include the demolition of various later structures on the site, such as the massive concrete silos built in the 1950s and 60s (North Silo and South Silo). Public access is currently limited to the Visitor Centre and a small area to the rear of the mill buildings.

Further Reading

Ditherington Flax Mill Maltings (GeoTopoi, 2011);
Shrewsbury Flaxmill Maltings (Historic England)

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