The vision of the client, Gateshead Council, was to create a landmark footbridge across the River Tyne to link the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides, which are being transformed to meet the challenges of the new millennium.
Gateshead Council recognised that the unique nature of the bridge, combined with the need to overlap the design and construction phases, necessitated the establishment of a Partnering approach to the project. After a detailed selection procedure, which took into account technical capabilities as well as an ability to work co-operatively, VolkerStevin was appointed Main Contractor.
The bridge is built of 800 tonnes of steel and uses a world-first tilting mechanism to open, turning on pivots on both sides of the river to form a gateway arch under which ships can pass. Two concrete piers founded into the riverbed on each side of the river house the pivots and opening mechanism and provide superb viewing platforms.
When the entire bridge superstructure was constructed it was lifted from the construction yard at Wallsend and transported up the river Tyne by the World's Second largest floating Crane, the 3200t Asian Hercules II, and finally lowered into position.
Great care was taken in the design and installation of the lighting. Lamps are built into the deck to light the paths for users at night and illuminate the structure including the main arch.
The bridge is now a world-famous landmark and has to date received over 20 awards for excellence in design and construction