Gateshead Millennium Bridge delivery and opening
The bridge was transported section by section from Watson Steel, Bolton (where it was fabricated) to the AMEC works in Wallsend, Newcastle. It was here that AMEC welded the sections together and painted the bridge with a weather resistant paint ready for its use on the River Tyne.
The finished bridge was transported six miles up the river to its final position in Gateshead in November 2000. It was carried using Europe's largest floating crane - Asian Hercules II.
At certain points the bridge was wider than the river, and had to be turned sideways to squeeze its way through. It was finally lowered into position with just 2mm to spare.
Asian Hercules II has a deck the size of a football pitch. The main lifting legs project over 350 ft tall - some 60 ft higher than Big Ben and almost as tall as the London Eye Millennium Wheel.
The 10,560-ton barge is over 250 ft long and over 100 ft wide. It has enough power to lift a weight equal to over 4,000 cars. However, it has a very small crew - only 12 people - who all live on-board. The living quarters are outfitted like a modern hotel with a full time chef and rooms for 20 people.
On 28 June 2001 the bridge underwent its first tilt. 36,000 people from all over the UK lined the banks of the River Tyne to watch.
Asian Hercules II - Specifications
- Length: 91.00 metres
- Breadth moulded: 43.00 metres
- Depth moulded: 8.50 metres
- Max/Min draft: 5.00 /2.40 metres
- Gross tonnage: 10,560 tons
- Net tonnage: 3,168 tons
- Displacement: 16,500 tons (even keel)
- Speed: 7 knots
Tuesday 7 May 2002 was a very special day in the life of Gateshead Millennium Bridge.
The official opening of the Gateshead Millennium Bridge took place in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who were in the region as part of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Celebrations.
Thousands of people lined the Quayside of Gateshead and Newcastle to witness the official opening of this magnificent bridge.
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