Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Tay Road Bridge

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The Tay Road Bridge carries the A92 road across the Firth of Tay from Newport-on-Tay in Fife to Dundee in Scotland, just downstream of the Tay Rail Bridge. At around 2,250 metres (1.4 mi), it is one of the longest road bridges in Europe, and was opened in 1966, replacing the old Tay ferry.

As part of the modernisation projects of the 1950s, a road bridge across the Tay had been considered for several years. In August 1958 a traffic census and test bores were taken to locate the most suitable crossing for the bridge.

The bridge was designed by William Fairhurst and construction began in March 1963 with the infilling of West Graving Dock, King William Dock and Earl Grey docks in Dundee. The construction was undertaken by Duncan Logan Construction Ltd. Controversially, construction required the demolition of Dundee's Royal Arch where Queen Victoria had entered the city on a royal visit. Rubble from the Victoria arch was used as foundations for the on-ramp.

The bridge consists of 42 spans with a navigation channel located closer to the Fife side. During the construction of the bridge, 140,000 tons of concrete, 4,600 tons of mild steel and 8,150 tons of structural steel was used. The bridge has a gradient of 1:81 running from 9.75 m (32.0 ft) above sea-level in Dundee to 38.1 m (125.0 ft) above sea-level in Fife.

The bridge took 3½ years to build at a cost of approximately £6 million. Following the installation of the final 65 ton girder on 4 July 1966, the completed bridge was officially opened by the Queen Mother on 18 August 1966. A newsreel of this is available in the British Pathe web archive. For four days, many took advantage of the toll-free period to cross the bridge.

Viewing platforms were once a feature of the Bridge, however they were removed in the 1990s.

"The bridge has a total length of 7,365ft in forty-two spans, most of them of 180ft, and the longest 250ft. Its superstructure consists of twin T-beams of composite construction, the stem of each T being a box girder largely of high-yield-stress steel with a concrete deck forming one of the dual carriageways."[1]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1966/08/12