Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Runcorn-Widnes Bridge

In 1961 Uncle Eric took me on the Widnes-Runcorn Transporter Bridge for the last time in an effort to ensure I remembered the experience. I did! I was only eleven years old but even at that age I remember thinbking that it was a shame that when the new bridge was built they would be pulling down the old one. Even at that age I was somethiong of a conservationist. The transporter bridge had been opened in 1905 and nowadays, had it survived, it would be such a tourist attraction.

No one doubted the need for the new Runcorn-Widnes Bridge (renamed The Silver Jubilee Bridge in 1977) and in 1975 it had to be widened from two to four lanes to try to cope with the traffic. Even with that change it suffers from much congestion. It is a compression arch suspended-deck bridge and has been declared a Grade 2 listed Building.

The bridge is one of the largest of its kind worldwide with a main span of 330m and its crown 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, and a full repaint uses around 50,000 litres of paint.

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