Menai Suspension Bridge
Pont Grog y Borth
The Menai Suspension Bridge from a viewpoint on the A5 near the Britannia Bridge.
|Carries||A5 road (London to Holyhead)|
|Locale||Anglesey, North Wales|
|Total length||417 metres (1,368 ft)|
|Width||12 metres (39 ft)|
|Height||30 metres (98 ft)|
|Longest span||176 metres (577 ft)|
|Number of spans||Main: One
|Piers in water||Five|
|Design life||1893: wooden deck replaced in steel
1938/40: iron chains replaced in steel.
|Opened||30 January 1826|
|Heritage status||Grade 1
Candidate: World Heritage Site
The Menai Suspension Bridge (Welsh: Pont Grog y Borth) is a suspension bridge between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. The bridge was designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826.
Before the bridge was completed in 1826, the island had no fixed connection to the mainland and all movements to and from Anglesey were by ferry across the fast flowing waters and dangerous waters of the Menai Strait. The main source of income on Anglesey was from the sale of cattle, and to move them to the markets of the mainland, including London, they had to be driven into the water and encouraged to swim across the Strait, a dangerous practice which often resulted in the loss of valuable animals. With Holyhead as the closest point to, and thus one of the principal ports for ferries to Dublin, Engineer, Thomas Telford was engaged to complete a survey of the route from London to Holyhead, and and he proposed that a bridge should be built over the Menai Strait from a point near Bangor on the mainland to the village of Porthaethwy (which is now also known as Menai Bridge) on Anglesey.
Because of the high banks and fast flowing waters of the Strait, it would have been difficult to build piers on the shifting sands of the sea bed and, even if it could be done, they would have obstructed the navigation. Also, the bridge would have to be high enough to allow the passage of the tall ships of the day. In view of this, Telford proposed that a suspension bridge should be built and his recommendation was accepted by Parliament.
Construction of the bridge, to Telford's design, began in 1819 with the towers on either side of the strait. These were constructed from Penmon limestone and were hollow with internal cross-walls. Then came the sixteen huge chain cables, each made of 935 iron bars, that support the 176-metre (577 ft) span. To avoid rusting between manufacture and use, the iron was soaked in linseed oil and later painted. The chains each measured 522.3 metres (1,714 ft) and weighed 121 tons. Their suspending power was calculated at 2,016 tons. The bridge was opened to much fanfare on 30 January 1826.
The roadway was only 24ft wide and, without stiffening trusses, soon proved highly unstable in the wind. The deck of the Menai Bridge was strengthened in 1840 by W. A. Provis and, in 1893, the entire wooden surface was replaced with a steel deck designed by Sir Benjamin Baker. Over the years, the 4.5 ton weight limit proved problematic for the increasing freight industry and in 1938 the original wrought iron chains were replaced with steel ones without the need to close the bridge. In 1999 the bridge was closed for around a month to resurface the road and strengthen the structure, requiring all traffic to cross via the nearby Britannia Bridge.
On 28 February 2005 the bridge was promoted to UNESCO as a candidate World Heritage Site. On the same day one carriageway of the bridge was closed for six months restricting traffic to a single carriageway so that traffic travelled to the mainland in the morning and to Anglesey in the afternoon. The bridge was re-opened to traffic in both directions on 11 December 2005 after its first major re-painting in 65 years.
The nearest settlement is the town of Menai Bridge. A representation of the Menai Bridge inside a border of railings and stanchions is featured on the reverse of British one pound coins minted in 2005. The coin was designed by Edwins Ellis.
- White Knight to Alice:
- "I heard him then, for I had just
- completed my design,
- To keep the Menai bridge from rust
- By boiling it in wine."
Famous Welsh englyn
- Uchelgaer uwch y weilgi - gyr y byd
- Ei gerbydau drosti,
- Chwithau, holl longau y lli,
- Ewch o dan ei chadwyni.
- —Dewi Wyn o Eifion (David Owen) (1784–1841)
- High fortress above the sea – the world drives
- Its carriages across it;
- And you, all you ships of the sea,
- Pass beneath its chains.
- Bartlett, W. H.; Harding, J.D.; Creswick, T. (Reprinted 2009). The Ports Harbours Watering Places. BiblioLife. ISBN 1-115-95868-2.
- Drewry, Charles Stewart (1832). A Memoir of Suspension Bridges: Comprising The History Of Their Origin And Progress. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman. pp. 46–66, and Plates. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
- Kovach, Warren (2010). "Menai Strait Bridges". Anglesey history. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- The Saturday Magazine (Published by J. W. Parker): 212. 1835.
- Llwybr y Llewod 8-13. BBC Lleol
- Menai Bridge Website Menai Bridge Town Partnership Website with details on the news, council, events and businesses of Menai Bridge
- Prosiect Menai The new site of Prosiect Menai, who aim to create a museum and education centre based on the story of the bridges over the Menai Strait.