Newport Transporter Bridge

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Coordinates: 51°34′14″N 2°59′9″W / 51.57056°N 2.98583°W / 51.57056; -2.98583

Newport Transporter Bridge
Newport Transporter Bridge 2002.jpg
The gondola crossing the bridge.
Official name Newport Transporter Bridge
Carries Motor vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians including buses and multi sized lorries.
Crosses River Usk
Locale Newport
Maintained by Newport City Council
Design Transporter bridge
Total length 236m (774.28 ft)
Width Three cars (gondola)
(total width 108 ft / 33 m)
Longest span 196.56m (644.88 ft)
Opened 12 September 1906
Toll Cyclists and pedestrians - 50p
Cars - £1

The Newport Transporter Bridge (Welsh: Pont Gludo Casnewydd) is a transporter bridge that crosses the River Usk in Newport, South Wales. The bridge is the lowest crossing on the River Usk. It is a Grade I listed structure. The transporter bridge is very rare, with only eight remaining in use worldwide.

History[edit]

The bridge was designed by French engineer Ferdinand Arnodin. It was built in 1906 and opened by Godfrey Charles Morgan, 1st Viscount Tredegar on 12 September 1906.[1]

Reason for the Transporter design[edit]

The design was chosen because the river banks are very low at the desired crossing point (a few miles south of the city centre) where an ordinary bridge would need a very long approach ramp to attain sufficient height to allow ships to pass under, and a ferry could not be used during low tide at the site.[2]

Principle Dimensions[edit]

Interestingly for the time, a Corporation Of Newport drawing dated December 1902 is calibrated in metres.

The height of the towers is 73.6m (241.47 ft), and the height to the underside of the main girder truss above the road level is 49.97m (163.94 ft). The span between the centres of the towers is 196.56m (644.88 ft), and the clearance between the towers is quoted as being 180.44m (592 ft), however including the cantilevered sections, the main girder truss gives the bridge an overall length of 236m (774.28 ft). The distance between the centres of the anchorage caissons is 471.06m (1545.47 ft). Power to propel the transporter platform or gondola is provided by two 35hp (26.1kW) electric motors, which in turn drive a large winch, which is situated in an elevated winding house at the eastern end of the bridge. This winch is sufficient to drive the gondola through its' 196.56m (644.88 ft) total travel at a speed of ten feet (three metres) per second,[citation needed]. This is the oldest and largest of the three historic transporter bridges which remain in Britain, and also the largest of the eight historic transporter bridges which remain worldwide).[citation needed]

When compared with Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge the Newport Transporter is: 16 feet (5 m) taller, but 23m (75.46 ft) less in overall length. It also and utilizes approximately 1400 tons of steel compared to 2600 tons used to construct Middlesbrough's Transporter (not accounting for steel used in foundations or concrete anchors)[citation needed], however this difference in the respective weights of the two can be attributed (at least in the greater part) to the fact that the Newport bridge makes use of cables to support and induce tension into its' structure to a far greater extent than does the Middlesbrough bridge.

Other information[edit]

Today, the bridge is widely regarded as the most recognisable symbol of the city of Newport.

The bridge forms part of the classified highway network and is also where route 4 of the National Cycle Network crosses the River Usk and route 47 begins.

It was the focal point of the local millennium celebrations of 2000, where fireworks were fired from its length, and has been featured in several movies and television shows. It was the centre-piece of the Crow Point Festival in September 2006 to celebrate its centenary. It is used for charity events such as sponsored abseils.

The bridge is open to the public and can be used for a charge.

Refurbishment[edit]

The bridge was shut down in 1985 because of wear and tear. Following a £3 million refurbishment, it reopened in 1995. Service was suspended again in December 2008 with the bridge facing a £2 million repair bill.[3] £1.225 million was spent on refurbishment, financed by grants from the Welsh Assembly, Newport Council and Cadw. It re-opened on 30 July 2010.[4]

The bridge was closed on 16 February 2011, because of operational problems, but re-opened again on 4 June.[5]

Appearances in popular media[edit]

The bridge provided the setting for some scenes in the 1959 British crime drama film Tiger Bay, but was set in Cardiff and therefore gave audiences the impression that the transporter bridge was in Cardiff and not Newport. The bridge also featured in an early scene in the 1972 experimental film The Other Side of the Underneath by Jane Arden which was re-issued on DVD and Blu-ray by the British Film Institute in 2009.

Newport Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre[edit]

The Visitor Centre is located on the west bank and features exhibits about the history of the bridge, its construction and other transporter bridges around the world. The centre is open on the weekend.

Gallery[edit]

The bridge from the West bank to the North 
The gondola in transit 
Gondola approaching the pier 
Looking down onto the gondola 
Main girder, from inside 
Walkway on top of the bridge showing the pulley cable 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "City transporter bridge centenary". Newport: BBC News. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=lofVAAAAMAAJ&dq=%22transporter%20bridge%22%20%22popular%20mechanics%22&pg=RA1-PA60#v=onepage&q=&f=false Popular mechanics magazine: written ... - Google Books[full citation needed]
  3. ^ "Nine historic buildings get £385k". Newport: BBC Wales News. 13 January 2009. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  4. ^ "Transporter Bridge to re-open". Newport: South Wales Argus. 2010-07-25. Retrieved 2010-07-25. 
  5. ^ Transporter Bridge at newport.gov.uk

External links[edit]