Bridging the Mersey - a pictorial history

Bridging the Mersey - a pictorial history

Auteur
:   Dave Thompson
Gemeente
:  
Provincie
:   Cheshire
Land
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-2640-3
Pagina's
:   80
Prijs
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Bridging the Mersey - a pictorial history'

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59 Thehigh-levell,628ft-long steel arch bridge was designed to stand 75ft above the river level and provide a clear headroom

of 80 ft for shipping on the Manchester Ship Canal. A bridge of this scale necessitated the demolition of housing either side of the

river to help make way for almast three-quarters of a mile of viaducts. Many old Victorian terraeed streets disappeared altogether. Pic-

tured here is the demolition of Viaduct Street and Irwell Street in Widnes.

60 The Wiclnes approach road seen under construction in September 1 959. The building to the right is West Bank Primary School.

61 The design of the bridge's foundations were an important aspect of construction. The foundations of the footings on the Widnes side were buried into the Mersey foreshore and at Runcorn, on the bank of the Manchester Ship Canal. The two concrete foundations were designed to withstand 2,950 tones of thrust from each bridge truss. The boatyard seen to the left in this view is that of Richard Abel & Sons. It had originally oecupied the site of the foundations but the boatyard later moved nearer the transporter bridge to make way for the bridge's construction. Abel's were re-

nowned builders of schooners and barges, until 1953, when they coneen trared their business solely on baat repairs.

62 The erection of the Widnes span is underway in Iuly 1959.

63 By june 1960 the spans from either side of the river were moving closer together. Pictured in

this view we see the 20ton creeper eranes which moved slowly up the structure, where workmen then

riveted steelwork into place. The Runcorn - Widnes Bridge has the distinction ofbeing the last major

bridge that used rivets in its construction.

64 A view of the three great Mersey crossings between Runcorn and Widnes, pictured shortly before the completion ofthe Runcorn- Widnes Bridge. Both creeper eranes can be seen to have almost completed construction of the whole arch. Afterwards they were slowly reversed down the arch halves, erecting the steelwork on the deck and hangers as they went. The creeper eranes were made from steelwork that could later be used in the final completion of the bridge. This picture was taken from the Old Quay locks that join the Manchester Ship Canal with the River Mersey at Runcorn. These

locks were built to allow river traffic to pass into the ship canal. They closed in the 1970's.

65 In this unique view the two halves of the span are finally brought together, leaving a gap of about 20 inches. This was

closed by letting the remaining cables out gradually until the two halves met. This method of gradually letting down the im-

mensely heavy bridge halves is a process known as f1eeting. Engineers had to plan when this was undertaken as the gap would

continue to open and close due to the natural temperature changes in the 5,900 tons of steelwork.

66 For a short period of time all three of the great bridges across Runcorn Gap were present side by side. Soon after they had completed work on the construction of the Raad Bridge. workers from the Dorman Long (Bridge & Engineering) Company demolished the transporter bridge.

67 The Runcorn-Widnes Road Bridge was officially opened by H.R.H. Princess Alexandra of Kent on 21st ]uly 1961. At that time it was the third longest steel arch bridge in the world, only surpassed in size by the Sydney Harbour Bridge (1,650 ft) and Bayonne Bridge (1,652 ft) at New York. Several other larger, steel arch superstructures were built in the years immediately after it opened and Runcorn- Widnes Bridge is now the ninth longest in the world. In engineering terms the bridge heralded a new era oflarge span British bridges. The Severn Suspension Bridge and Forth Road Bridge

were both underway by the time of Runcorn-Widnes Bridge's opening. (Photo:Weekly News.)

68 The bunting still flies in tros 1961 view of trouble-free mataring over the new Runcorn - Widnes

Bridge. However, the ease by which traffic could cross the river would soon change and by 1 970 slow

moving traffic was a comman sight. Momentum grew far action to be taken to relieve congestion, re-

sulting in 1972 in new proposals to widen the bridge to four lanes.

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