This competition-winning bridge was designed by Gifford in collaboration with Chris Wilkinson Architects. Providing a new crossing over the River Tyne just downstream of the existing landmark structures it gave Gateshead a new iconic structure for the new Millennium. The bridge form, a pair of steel arches spanning 100m between concrete islands, is rotated through 40 degrees to permit vessels to pass beneath.
In 2003 the excellence of this ‘landmark’ structure was recognised when it received the Supreme Award for Structural Excellence from the Institution of Structural Engineers.
The bridge deck provides both a footway and separate cycleway, taken in a wide curve across the river. The deck section, principally a stiffened steel box, is suspended from steel cables at 6m centres from a parabolic steel arch.
The arch and deck unite at each end support location where they converge about a transverse cylindrical arrangement which in turn is supported at each end by spherical bearings. From this cylinder extends a steel paddle to which a bank of hydraulic rams is connected. To open the bridge, the groups of rams thrust against the paddle rotating the structure through the required angle of 40 degrees.
Each group of cylinders is operated by an independent hydraulic power plant housed in a machine room immediately behind the cylinder anchor blocks. A separate inner room is provided for electrical switchgear.
Each end support rests on groups of bored cast-in-place large diameter piles founded in the coal measures which underlay the site.
The scheme also includes structural glass canopies to each support and ship protection works incorporating floating components.
· Conceptual and detailed structural design
· Co-ordination of hydraulic, mechanical and electrical works
· Commissioning of aerodynamic investigation
· Design co-ordination of structural glass
· Preparation of works information
· On-site supervision and contract management (ECC target contract).
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