timeline item
Here is the information we have
on the item you selected
More like this
sign up for our newsletter
© 2018 Engineering Timelines
engineering timelines
explore ... how   explore ... why   explore ... where   explore ... who  
home  •  NEWS  •  search  •  FAQs  •  references  •  about  •  sponsors + links
Swing Bridge, Newcastle
River Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Swing Bridge, Newcastle
associated engineer
John Ure
Sir W. G. Armstrong & Co.
date  23rd September 1868 - 15th June 1876
era  Victorian  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  NZ251637
ICE reference number  HEW 92
photo  Jane Joyce
The hydraulically-operated Swing Bridge is the fourth bridge in the same location in Newcastle, between the Tyne and High Level Bridges, and replaced an earlier Georgian structure. Its swing mechanism allows larger vessels access upriver the biggest to use it has been the Fernmount (5,000 tonnes net) in 1952.
Designed by John Ure, with additional design input from contractor Sir W.G. Armstrong & Co., the road bridge has six spans, two of them over land. Arched iron girders form the land spans, while the two fixed river spans are formed from iron box girders with riveted stiffeners. The foundations are cast iron cylinders sunk into the bedrock and filled with concrete, which support the granite bridge piers.
The swinging portion covers the two central spans, with approximately 900 tonnes of the total 1,300 tonnes of moving parts being supported by an hydraulic press on the central pier. It rotates through 90 degrees, operated hydraulically by two electric pumps, which replaced the original steam pumps in 1959. The bowed profile consists of two main iron girders, and is 7.3m deep in the centre.
The bridge is 14.5m wide and 171m long overall, with the swing section 85.7m long. There is 4.4m clearance above high water level when the bridge is closed to shipping.
After preliminary dredging, work began on 23rd September 1868 and the bridge opened to road traffic on 15th June 1876, with the first swing opening for the Italian vessel Europa on 17th July. The bridge cost a total of 288,000.
Supervising engineer: Tyne Improvement Commission
Main contractor: Sir W.G. Armstrong & Co., Elswick
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH North

Swing Bridge, Newcastle