FONTB Logo. Click to return to Home PageTransporter bridge at dawnTurnstileGondolaTowerWinding GearControl CabinNewport Transporter Bridge
 

FRIENDS OF NEWPORT TRANSPORTER BRIDGE (FONTB)

Visit

Members
Merchandise
Other Transporter Bridges
 
Renew Membership

Other Transporter Bridges (by Sidney Robinson)

What is a Transporter Bridge?

There have been and no doubt still are a number of bridges in the World referred to, I believe wrongly, as Transporter Bridges. We cannot do better than to quote the definition by Bridge Engineer Barry Mawson, "that a Transporter Bridge has to be a rigid purpose built structure at high level over the crossing from which a gondola is suspended".

Using this criteria, it is known that 16 Transporter Bridges were built in the World plus one Bridge partly built and never completed. All these Bridges were built in the period between 1893 and 1916, a period in which Transporter Bridges could well handle traffic conditions of the time.

Lost Bridges

Only 8 Transporter Bridges remain and a summary of the 8 bridges lost is given below.

Four Transporter Bridges in France were severely damaged or destroyed during World War II. All these bridges were designed by the famous Transporter Bridge Engineer Frenchman Ferdinand Arnodin who also of course designed the Newport Transporter Bridge.

The locations of the 4 Bridges are:

  • Marseille, spanning the Harbour Vieux Port (combination of suspension and cantilever type)

  • Nantes, spanning the River Loire (combination of suspension and cantilever type). It is hoped that this bridge will be rebuilt.

  • Brest, spanning the Naval harbour (suspension type). This Bridge was originally erected in Bizerta, Tunisia and later transferred to Brest.

  • Rouen, spanning the River Seine (suspension type)

The other 'lost' Bridges are:

  • Kiel, Germany, spanning an extension to the deep inlet in Naval harbour (suspension type). Due to harbour alterations the bridge was no longer required and closed in 1923

  • Rio de Janeiro, linking the mainland with an off-shore island containing a naval installation (suspension type). Closed in 1935 and replaced by a fixed bridge

  • Duluth, USA, spanning a canal connecting Lake Superior with Duluth Harbour (truss type). Converted to a lifting bridge in 1930

  • Runcorn/Widnes, England spanning River Mersey and Manchester Ship Canal (suspension type). Demolished in 1961 and replaced by a fixed high level bridge.

Remaining Bridges

Details of the remaing 8 Transporter Bridges are given below:

Portugalete, near Bilbao, Spain

Spans the River Nervion

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Suspension 530ft / 161.5m 150ft / 45.7m 204ft / 62.2m 1893

Situated 6 miles downstream from Bilbao, the bridge was designed by Spanish engineer Alberto de Palacio in consultation with Ferdinand Arnodin.

A steam engine originally powered the gondola which was converted to electric drive in 1939. The bridge was damaged during the Spanish Civil War but has undergone extensive renewals since including lifts to the high level walkway and weather protection on the gondola.

Matrou, near Rochefort, France

Spans the River Charente

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Suspension 460ft / 140.2m 164ft / 50m   1900

Designed by Ferdinand Arnodin and most resembling the Newport Transporter Bridge, it was originally powered by steam. A bascular bridge was erected close by to relieve it. It was taken out of use in 1967 when a new lifting bridge was constructed but restored in 1996 as a tourist attraction.

Newport, Wales

Spans the River Usk

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Suspension 645ft / 196.6m 177ft / 54m 242ft / 73.8m 1906

The largest and most elegant of the remaining Bridges. Designed by Ferdinand Arnodin in conjunction with Newport Borough Engineer Robert H. Haynes.

Osten, Germany

30 miles north west of Hamburg. Spans the River Osten, a tributary of the Elbe

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Truss 262ft / 80m 118ft / 36m   1909

The gondola is suspended by rigid steel girders rather than cables and the bridge has been restored as an historic monument.

Middlesbrough, England

Spans the River Tees

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Cantilever 570ft / 173.8m 160ft / 49m   1911

The gondloa was adapted to take electric tram cars but this use did not materialise. In 1969 a new pipe line was built across the span to transfer oxygen between two Teeside industrial plants.

Rendsburg, Germany

Spans the Kiel Canal

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Cantilever 494ft / 150.6m 137ft / 41.8m   1913

Built on the underside of a high level railway bridge with lengthy approach viaducts, the gondola is suspended by rigid steel girders rather than cables. A tunnel now takes heavy motor traffic under the canal, leaving the gondola to transport pedestrians, cyclists and light traffic.

Buenos Aries, Argentina

La Boca del Riachelo, spans river between City of Buenos Aires and Province of Buenos Aires.

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Truss       1914

The Bridge is also named "Nicolas Avellaneda" after the President of the Argentine Republic 1874-1880. A bridge was built about 200 metres away to relieve the Transporter Bridge which is currently out of use. Local people are planning its restoration.

Warrington, England

Spans the River Mersey at the works of Joseph Crossfield and Sons Ltd (part of the Unilever Group)

Construction Span between centres of towers Height of Beam above road level Height of towers Date opened
Suspension 187ft / 57m 75ft / 22.9m   1916

This bridge is on private land within the works of Joseph Crossfield and has been used rarely since 1967. It catered for both rail and road traffic.

 

Projected and Unfinished Bridges

Bordeaux, France

Construction of a Transporter Bridge crossing the River Gironde at at Bordeaux in France commenced in1910 but progressed only to the towers before World War I intervened. Construction was not resumed after the war and the towers were dismantled in 1940. Of suspension construction, the span would have been approximately 1400 ft (426m) and it would have been the World's largest Transporter Bridge

Other Transporter Bridges have been projected at:

  • Sandbanks, Dorset, England to link Poole and Swanage

  • the Ribble Estuary, Lancashire, England

  • Easthey to Hayling Island, Hampshire, England

  • Tancarville, France over the River Seine below Rouen

 

 

 

 

Top

© FONTB (Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge) - Registered Charity No. 1102925