Redheugh Bridge (1901-1984)
Newcastle upon Tyne, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE
- Lattice girder bridge across the Tyne, demolished in 1983. The four N-braced spans were the same dimensions as those of the previous Redheugh bridge - two, of 75m, over the river, and two, of 45m, over the landward ends.
'These spans would be supported steel, cross-braced columns, in groups of 4 columns per pier, rising from new, 8 feet diameter cast-iron foundation cylinders, sunk much deeper than the old ones, by the plenum pneumatic process. Parts of the masonry approaches to the old bridge [were] modified and used in the new bridge, by reducing existing approach viaducts to springing level of the arches, providing new cappings atop the old piers, and setting the steel girder approach spans over them.'
[Stafford Linsley's annotation]
On both sides of the Tyne the bridge abutments survive as viewing platforms.
GIRDER BRIDGE, ROAD BRIDGE, TOLL BRIDGE
- Historical Background
- 'So far there have been three Redheugh bridges over the Tyne. The first of these was in some ways the most interesting of the Tyne Bridges in the Newcastle - Gateshead area. A Redheugh Bridge Company obtained parliamentary powers to build a bridge in 1866, about ¾ mile up-river of the High Level Bridge. It was hoped that the new bridge would make the Redheugh Estate in Gateshead more attractive to developers, provide a means of carrying gas and water mains across the Tyne from the north, and allow and easier route between the south and north sides of the Tyne than via the hilly Windmill Hills route through Gateshead. The Chief Engineer to the new Bridge was to be Thomas Bouch, a bridge builder of some reputation then, with several dramatic viaducts to his name. Bouch's Redheugh bridge was certainly an unusual design. He used wrought-iron lattice girder spans, of an extremely novel, and almost certainly never-repeated design, in that wrought-iron gas mains formed the top booms of the main girders, and wrought-iron water mains ran along the bottom booms. In other words the gas mains were integral components of the girder structures, not just appendages. Moreover, the river piers tapered to 64 feet above the road deck level, to act as pylons, supporting four diagonal tension bars, cable stays if you like, to give added strength to the bridge. This bridge opened in June 1871.
There were reasonable fears for the safety of Bouch's Redheugh Bridge, after the collapse of his Tay Bridge in 1879, only a year after it had opened, and eventually a new Redheugh Bridge was built. The really tricky part of the rebuilding, was that the new bridge was to be on exactly the same alignment as the old, and it had to be constructed with only the minimum interruption to traffic, and to water and gas supplies. All this effectively meant that the new bridge had to be built around the old one, in such a manner that the old bridge could continue to be used, right until the new one was ready.
A Bill for the second Redheugh Bridge received the Royal Assent in 1896, and the contract for rebuilding was awarded to Sir Wm. Arrol & Co Ltd. of Glasgow, in May 1897; it was opened in 1901, having cost £82,000; road vehicles had only been stopped for a few weeks during reconstruction, and foot passengers hardly at all. Like its predecessor it was a toll bridge.
By the 1970s, the Redheugh Bridge was costing about £75,000 p.a. in repair costs, and it became inevitable that it would have to be replaced. It was replaced by the first large concrete bridge across the Tyne, the third and present Redheugh Bridge.'
[Stafford Linsley's annotation]
- Additional information about the structure type GIRDER BRIDGE is available.
- Additional information about the structure type ROAD BRIDGE is available.
- Additional information about the structure type TOLL BRIDGE is available.
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