Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

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The Tees Transporter Bridge as it is correctly known (or simply the Transporter) is the furthest downstream bridge across the River Tees, England. It connects Middlesbrough, on the south bank, to Port Clarence, on the north bank. It is a transporter bridge, carrying a travelling 'car', or 'gondola', suspended from the bridge, across the river in 90 seconds. The gondola can carry 200 people, 9 cars, or 6 cars and one minibus. It carries the A178 Middlesbrough to Hartlepool road. It was until recently the only working example of its type in England, but there are two other bridges, the Newport Transporter Bridge in Newport, South Wales which re-opened on 20 July 2010, and the Warrington Transporter Bridge in Cheshire, England.

History
Following a 1907 Act of Parliament the bridge was built at a cost of £68,026 6 s 8 d (£5,330,000 as of 2011), by Sir William Arrol & Co. of Glasgow between 1910 and 1911 to replace an earlier steam ferry. A transporter bridge was chosen because Parliament ruled that the new scheme of crossing the river had to avoid affecting the river navigation. The opening ceremony on the 17 October 1911 was performed by Prince Arthur of Connaught. The Tees Transporter Bridge has an overall length (including cantilevers) of 851 feet (259 m), leaving a span between the centres of the towers of 580 feet (180 m), the beam of the bridge being carried at a height of 160 feet (49 m) above the road. This combined with an overall height of 225 feet (69 m), makes this bridge the second largest example remaining in the world; the largest being the bridge across the River Usk, at Newport in South Wales. During World War Two the superstructure of the bridge was hit by a bomb. In 1953, the gondola got stuck half-way. While it was stuck, gale force winds lashed water to within inches of it. In 1974, the comedy actor Terry Scott, travelling between his hotel in Middlesbrough and a performance at the Billingham Forum, mistook the bridge for a regular toll crossing and drove his car off the end of the roadway, landing in the safety netting beneath. In December 1993, the bridge was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' highest honour, The Heritage Plaque, for engineering excellence, in recognition of the Council's efforts in keeping the bridge in good working order. Its historical importance was also recognised in 1985 by its listing as a Grade II* Listed Building and its prominence as a local landmark was further enhanced in 1993 by the installation of flood lights that operate during the winter months. It has featured in films and TV programmes including Billy Elliot , The Fast Show , Spender and Steel River Blues . In the millennium celebrations of 2000, fireworks were fired from its length. The storyline of the third series of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet , saw the bridge dismantled to be sold to and re-erected in the USA. The local council received calls from people worried that the bridge was really being pulled down, with the BBC adding a disclaimer on the end of the final episode of the series stating that 'The Transporter Bridge remains in Middlesbrough'. The Transporter Bridge has a safety announcement, and until recently, it was a southern voice. Middlesbrough council decided it was time to change the voice, and held a competition for the new voice. The competition was won by a Middlesbrough man, Brian Hall, who was one of the last few finalists in the competition for the speaking clock in 2006. In 2008 Brian and his son, Sam, took part in a fundraising zipwire event off the Transporter Bridge , raising over £500 in doing so. The bridge is currently owned by Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council. Middlesbrough council has control of the day-to-day operations and maintenance.

Vintage Bus Running Day
The bridge is also host to an annual vintage bus running day, organised by The 500 Group. On this one day per year, usually a Sunday in April, vintage buses take people on free rides around Teesside. As part of the 2006 and 2007 events the bridge made a special trip carrying a former Teesside Municipal Transport Daimler Fleetline. Prior to this a double deck bus had not used the bridge in 30 years.

Media

3 photos

Building Activity

  • removed 2 media and updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com
  • updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator