Hydraulic bridges are always a wonder for the public. Conversion from a bridge structure to some other structure will be an unusual visual treat for the public. All that you need to know is, the working principle behind most of the movable bridges are hydraulics. The power of fluids makes it possible to change the structure of a hydraulic bridge to allow water transportation.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge constructed over the river Tyne at Gateshead, United Kingdom; connecting Newcastle and Gateshead. In 2001, the structural engineering group Gifford and the architectural firm Wilkinson Eyre constructed this bridge. This bridge is also known as “The Blinking Eye Bridge” and “The Winking Eye Bridge”. This nickname is provided because of its appearance when it tilts over for allowing water transport. During maximum tilt, the angle between the two arches of the bridge will be 40°.
Also, Read: Advantages of Hydraulic Bridge
Now we can discuss some Gateshead Millennium Bridge facts. This tilt bridge was constructed by Volker Stevin in 2001 with steel and concrete. Queen Elizabeth II inaugurated this bridge on 7 May 2002. This is the first tilt bridge in the world that uses hydraulics for operation and it cost £22m for its construction. The largest floating crane, the Asian Hercules II was used to place the offsite constructed bridge into place. It has a total length of 126 m (413 ft) and a width of 8 m (26 ft). The top arch of the bridge stands about 50m (164 ft) above the river level. The bridge takes four and a half minutes for each opening and closing. Other than for allowing river traffic, it opens periodically for sightseers and for major events.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge Awards and Achievements
- The bridge was featured on a first class stamp for United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland in 2000.
- The bridge appeared on a pound coin from the Royal Mint in 2007, representing England.
- Outstanding Structure Award by the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering in 2005.
- Award of Excellence 2002
- Balthazar Neumann Prize 2004
- RIBA Stirling Prize 2002
- North East England Tourism Award 2009 - Gold winner
- International Association of Lighting Designers Award of Excellence 2002
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge has received many other awards for its design and lightning. Also, the architectural firm WilkinsonEyre won the Royal Institute of British Architects Stirling Prize of 2002 and the Gifford group received the IStructE Supreme Award of 2003.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge Design and Working
The bridge is made up of a pair of steel arches connected with a series of suspension cables. The deck will comprise of pedestrian and cycle path(one foot below the pedestrian path) and the other arch will support this deck by forming an ark. The suspension cables help the horizontal-curve like pedestrian and cycle deck to suspend over the Tyne river. The bridge is designed in such a way that it can clean up its own litter during each time it opens. Gateshead Millennium Bridge working is based on hydraulics. It contains eight hydraulic motors, hydraulic pump and six hydraulic rams (3 on each side of the bridge.). Ends of the deck and the arch will meet at a trunnion(a horizontal cylinder). The trunnion is connected to a steel paddle, that connects with hydraulic rams. Hydraulic Ram for Gateshead Millennium Bridge makes the tilting operation safer and smoother by pushing water against them. To tilt the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, the hydraulic motors will pressurize the pump and then it will carry fluid to the power pack before being diverted to six hydraulic rams.