Afon Ogwen Footbridge, Tanysgafell

Footbridge

Date

25 April 2020

Location

Afon Ogwen, Tanysgafell, Bethesda
SH 61636 66764; 53.17992°N, 4.07187°W

Information

Further Reading

Afon Ogwen Footbridge (fire spinning);
All posts about Afon Ogwen

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Pont Pen-y-benglog

Pont Pen-y-benglog, Llyn Ogwen

Date

28 March 2020

Location

Llyn Ogwen
SH 64914 60537; 53.12482°N, 4.02023°W

Information

In the early 19th century, Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834) built the A5 road as the main London-to-Dublin mail route. The current ‘Pont Pen-y-benglog’ bridge over the Afon Ogwen was built to replace a difficult, steep section of the earlier coach route at the western end of Llyn Ogwen. The surviving arch of the earlier, medieval pack-horse bridge can be seen below the present one.

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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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Rickerby Park, Carlisle

Memorial Bridge, looking towards Dixon's Chimney

Memorial Bridge, looking towards Dixon’s Chimney

Date

31 July 2016

Location

Rickerby, Carlisle
NY 40901 56830; 54.90266°N, 2.92317°W

Information

In 1920 Carlisle Citizens’ League and Carlisle Corporation purchased the land to create a public park at Rickerby for £11,500 as a site for a memorial cenotaph and bridge to commemorate the 10,000 local men and women who lost their lives in the First World War. The 12 metre high cenotaph, which cost £5,000, was designed by Edinburgh architect Sir Robert Stodart Lorimer (1864-1929) and was made from local Shap granite. The Memorial Bridge over the River Eden is of cantilever construction and has a main span of 61 metres. Rickerby Park was officially opened on 25 May 1922.

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Conwy Suspension Bridge

Conwy Suspension Bridge

Conwy Suspension Bridge

Date

28 October 2015

Location

Conwy
SH 78582 77543; 53.28090°N, 3.82257°W

Information

Conwy Suspension Bridge was one of the world’s first road suspension bridges. Designed by Scottish engineer Thomas Telford (1757-1834), the bridge was built between 1822 and 1826 to carry the A5 road as part of the London-to-Dublin mail route. Its design is similar to that of the Menai Suspension Bridge – another of Telford’s creations – which was constructed at the same time and as part of the same route.

The bridge has a main span of 99.7 m and it crosses the Afon Conwy next to Conwy Castle. It replaced a ferry that operated at the same location.

The transport link across the river was augmented in 1849 when the tubular railway bridge alongside the road bridge was officially opened. The rail bridge carried the Chester and Holyhead Railway (now the North Wales Coast line) and was designed by Robert Stephenson (1803-1859). The wrought-iron box-girder construction is similar to that of his original Britannia Bridge, which opened in 1850, was destroyed by fire in 1970, and then rebuilt to a different design.

The narrow Conwy Suspension Bridge served as the main roadway into Conwy until it was superseded by a modern road bridge, which flanks the suspension bridge on the opposite side from the rail bridge, in 1958. The newer road bridge still carries local traffic, but was itself superseded when the A55 North Wales Expressway bypassed the town via the Conwy Tunnel, which was constructed between 1986 and 1991.

The suspension bridge is now only open to pedestrian traffic and is in the care of the National Trust. It was re-painted in 2007-2008 as part of a £400,000 renovation project. Both the suspension bridge and the adjacent railway bridge have Grade I listings.

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Now and then VIII: Beddgelert

Beddgelert - Now and Then

Beddgelert – Now and Then

Date

24 January 2015
Location

Beddgelert

SH 59096 48110; 53.01169°N, 4.10168°W

Information

The triple-arched Pont Beddgelert road bridge spans the Afon Colwyn close to its confluence with the Afon Glaslyn in the centre of Beddgelert village. The Grade II listed structure has been repaired a number of times throughout its history, the earliest recorded instance being in the early 17th century.

The first half of the 19th century saw an increase in the numbers of tourists visiting Snowdonia and around 1830, hoping to capitalise on this trend, the Sygun estate started developing property in Beddgelert – a row of buildings was constructed overlooking the Afon Colwyn close to the bridge.

The principal buildings, which received Grade II listed status in 1952 and 1961, respectively, were the Prince Llewelyn Hotel and Waterloo House. The latter is now Beddgelert Bistro and Antiques and was from the late 19th century the village Post Office. The 11-bedroom Prince Llewelyn Hotel was the site in 1949 of an occurrence the like of which is only known to have occurred in Wales on one other occasion. In the early hours of 21 September 1949 a bright light was observed traversing the sky in North Wales. A series of bangs was heard in the hotel and in the morning a hole was discovered in the ceiling of one of the upstairs lounges with a stone the size of a cricket ball lying on the floor. It was only identified as a meteorite that evening by an old miner in the hotel bar. The meteorite was later sold to the British Museum and was subsequently divided into samples which were sent to a number of different institutions.

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Celtic Gateway Bridge, Holyhead

Celtic Gateway Bridge

Celtic Gateway Bridge

Date

12 October 2014
Location

Holyhead

SH 24734 82469; 53.31006°N, 4.63213°W

Information

A ten-year regeneration strategy for the town of Holyhead was launched in 2003. A central element of this was improving access between the town centre and the ferry terminal and railway station, with the hopes of enticing more of the 2.4 million passengers using the port each year into the town and thereby improving its economy. Taking centre stage in the plans was the £7.5m Celtic Gateway project. This involved creating a walkway between the port’s railway station and the High Street and was funded by the EU Objective One programme, the Welsh Assembly Government and the erstwhile Welsh Development Agency. The pedestrian link comprises two bridges: a causeway bridge over the Inner Harbour and the adjoining Celtic Gateway Bridge crossing Victoria Road and the West Dock railway lines. The latter bridge was envisaged as an iconic landmark giving ferry visitors from Ireland a dramatic first impression of the town.

Work on the 128m-long, 4m-wide causeway bridge, which was designed and built by Dartford-based multinational construction company Laing O’Rourke, commenced in February 2004. Construction of the Celtic Gateway bridge, which was designed by engineering consultants Gifford (now part of the Denmark-based international consulting group Ramboll), fabricated by Cimolai SpA in Italy, and assembled by Laing O’Rourke, started in November 2005 and was completed in October 2006.

The Celtic Gateway Bridge was built in lean duplex stainless steel and its 70m main-span is supported by two 15-tonne welded inclined-plane tubular arches 1m in diameter and 8m high. Three months after its opening there were complaints over unsightly brown stains forming on the bridge. It turned out that the contractors had incorrectly used iron bolts instead of stainless steel fittings and these were corroding with the rust staining the concrete.

Further Reading

Bridges to lead town regeneration (BBC News, 18 Oct 2006);
Bolts rusting on £5m ‘gleaming icon’ bridge (Daily Post, 24 Jan 2007)

 

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Miners’ Bridge, Betws-y-Coed

Miners' Bridge over the Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Miners’ Bridge over the Afon Llugwy, Betws-y-Coed

Date

6 September 2014
Location

Betws-y-Coed

SH 77984 56933; 53.09560°N, 3.82365°W

Information

Local miners used to cross the Afon Llugwy via a wooden ladder at this point when commuting to and from the lead mines in the Gwydyr Forest.

Further Reading

Photograph of Miners’ Bridge (Roger Fenton) c. 1855 (People’s Collection Wales);
Photograph of Miners’ Bridge (George Love Dafnis) c. 1900s (Bath in Time)

 

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Forth Road Bridge

Forth Road Bridge from the south

Forth Road Bridge from the south. The main span is 1006 m long and the towers are 155 m high.

Date

26 August 2014
Location

Queensferry, Firth of Forth

NT 12534 78112; 55.98795°N, 3.40357°W

Information

Since the 11th century a ferry crossing over the Firth of Forth had served to link Edinburgh with Fife, which led to the growth of the two ports Queensferry and North Queensferry.

In 1883 construction of a railway connection started and the Forth Bridge opened in 1890. This Victorian bridge, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2011, was Britain’s first major steel structure and was until 1917 the world’s longest cantilever span.

Construction of the Forth Road Bridge alongside the rail bridge started in 1958 and it opened in 1964. The main span of the suspension bridge is 1006 m long and its total length is 2513 m. It was at the time the fourth longest span in the world and the longest in Europe. The Forth ferry service was discontinued when the road bridge opened. Tolls to cross the bridge were abolished by the Scottish Government in 2008.

The bridge was designed for 11 million vehicles per year. However, by 2006 the actual usage was 23 million. A structural survey in 2005 revealed a 10% loss in strength of the suspension cables due to corrosion. In light of the ensuing concerns over its long-term future, the decision to proceed with a replacement bridge, proposals for which had been put forward in the 1990s, was made in 2007 and construction of a cable-stayed bridge to the west of the Forth Road Bridge commenced in 2011. The new bridge, to be known as the Queensferry Crossing, is scheduled for completion in 2016, after which the existing road bridge will remain in use only for public transport, cyclists and pedestrians.

Further Reading

Forth Road Bridge (Bridge Authority);
Forth Road Bridge (Wikipedia);
Forth Replacement Crossing (Transport Scotland)

 

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Sappers’ Bridge, Betws-y-Coed

Afon Conwy Footbridge, Betws-y-Coed

Afon Conwy Footbridge, Betws-y-Coed

Date

2 August 2014
Location

Betws-y-Coed

SH 79608 56528; 53.09233°N, 3.79926°W

Information

The Royal Engineers built a wooden footbridge over the Afon Conwy to link the village of Betws-y-Coed with an army camp on the opposite side of the river. The wooden bridge was washed away in a storm and was rebuilt in 1930 by Westminster-based engineers David Rowell & Co. This company, originally producing fencing and later also wrought iron and wire rope, was founded in 1855 and shut down in 1970. In the first half of the 20th century it built a number of suspension footbridges.

 

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Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella I

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Lon Las Ogwen, Bryn Bella

Date

18 January 2014
Location

Bryn Bella, Bethesda

SH 61127 67831; 53.18937°N, 4.07995°W

Information

Work to extend the recreational route Lon Las Ogwen was started in March 2013. The new section, built on the trackbed of the former standard-gauge Bangor-to-Bethesda branch line, will connect Bethesda and Tregarth. The new underpass pictured here runs below a farm-track bridge and lies between Bryn Bella viaduct over the Afon Ogwen, which leads to the entrance of the Dinas tunnel, and the road bridge over the former railway. There are plans to open the 270m-long Dinas tunnel in order to complete the link between the two sections of Lon Las Ogwen. The last passenger service through the tunnel was in 1951 and the line closed to all traffic in 1963.

Further Reading

Gwynedd Recreational Routes (Visit Snowdonia);
Lôn Las Ogwen extended to Bethesda (Gwynedd Council);
Dinas Railway Tunnel

 

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