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Old November 6th, 2005, 08:10 PM   #1
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The Hanging Bridge of Bilbao

On a similar note to the old Elbe Tunnel under Hamburg, which still uses lifts to transport cars and people up and down to the tunnel (http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...81#post6082881) and possibly the only one of it's type still in use in the world, here is another unusual transportation construction.

The Hanging Bridge in Bilbao. I know there are a couple of others still in operation around the world, I remember reading about one in the U.K.

The Vizcaya Bridge was designed by Alberto de Palacio in 1887. When a new team of business administrators and technicians took over the running of the bridge in 1996, they agreed on two key objectives: to offer a modernised and renovated transport system for the 21st century, and to promote this monument to the same degree as its novel neighbour, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
With this in mind, the Vizcaya Bridge was considered as an industrial monument where its history and difficulties had to be respected, and the intervention work carried out would have to recover the spirit of its original construction. The restoration of the structure, which had been affected by often inappropriate interventions over one hundred years, was undertaken. The transport system was made suitable for new methods and technology by renewing the passenger control systems and installing a new gondola for passengers and vehicles. Finally, the Vizcaya Bridge was adapted for the tourist and leisure market by opening a walkway over the upper span with access from two panoramic lifts.

This work has resulted in an exquisitely refurbished Bridge and a monument from the Industrial era restored for future generations.

Most of the photo's below are probably before renovation.

This was the world's first transporter bridge, connecting the upper middle-class Las Arenas quarter of Getxo with the working class town of Portugalete and its historic city centre. There are two ways to cross the bridge, on the gondola which carries the vehicles and most pedestrians a few feet above the waters of the estuary, or across the overhead walkway, a giddy 50 metres above the ground and the river
The span is 148m long

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Old November 6th, 2005, 08:38 PM   #2
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Apparently, according to this site, there are 7 remaining working transporter bridges in the world, outof 15 that were built. The U.K. and France seems to have constructed the majority of them.

The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge
The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge was built in 1907 by Cleveland Bridge and Engineering of Darlington and opened in 1911. It spans the River Tees and carries 750 people and 600 vehicles a day in the carrying car which crosses over 160 feet above the river. The crossing takes about two and a half minutes. Passengers and vehicles are transported by means of a large moving platform which is capable of carrying nine vehicles at a time.

Middlesbrough is in the north east of England, about 50km south of Newcastle. The Transporter Bridge crosses the River Tees and is 850 feet (255m) long, 225 feet (67.5m) high. It is a giant crane like structure, which is a cross between a ferry and a bridge. Every year the bridge carries approximately 350,000 vehicles and 1,500,000 passengers .

The Newport Transporter Bridge
Another working bridge in the UK is in Wales. It is the Newport Transporter Bridge over the River Usk in Monmouthshire. Built by a Frenchman Monsieur F Arnodin, the bridge was opened in 1906. It has now become a tourist attraction. The bridge has a span of 645 feet measured from the centre of each of its towers. The gondola is 33 feet long, 40 feet wide and travels at 10 feet per second and can carry a maximum of 6 cars or small vans at one time. The whole contrivance is driven by two electric motors.

The Newport Transporter Bridge is a steel hybrid suspension/cable stayed bridge near the mouth of the River Usk. The bridge stands some 75m tall with a clear span of 197m. In 1985, wire breakages within the cables resulted in closure, and a level of holding maintenance was established while funds were sought for more permanent remedial measures.

A £3m scheme to conserve and refurbish the bridge began in 1992 and resulted in the bridge being reopened in December 1995. The project has ensured the survival of this landmark structure

The Warrington Transporter Bridge
The Warrington Transporter Bridge (or Bank Quay Transporter Bridge) across the river Mersey has a span of 187 feet (57m). It was built in 1916 and, although it has been out of use since circa 1964, it is still in working condition. It was originally built for rail, the only type of it's kind, but was converted to carry cars in the 1940's.

Osten Transporter Bridge, Germany
I don't have any details about this, maybe someone can post more:

Rendsburg High Bridge, Germany
Again, I have very little info on this one, but it looks pretty cool

Rochefort-Martrou Transporter Bridge, France
Very hard to find photo's or info. Still in use.

If you have further info and photo's on any of these bridges, please post them.

I must say, I can understand why the Bilbao one is the most famous. Besides being the oldest, it is located in the best location and the most accessible. I also think it is the most attractive.
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Old November 6th, 2005, 09:31 PM   #3
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Of interest, a new bridge in London, the Royal Victoria Dock Bridge in the docklands area, seems to be also listed as a hanging bridge with a pedestrian path and gondalar. I don't have any details, especially if the gonadala is operational, maybe someone can confirm this. If so, it is the first such type bridge in the modern world, and very unique.

some info
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Old November 6th, 2005, 11:32 PM   #4
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Oste Hanging Bridge, Schwebefähre.

The Oste Hanging Bridge is situated near the village of Osten, 50 km nw of Hamburg. The Oste is the most important river just-in-between the Elbe and the Weser, navigable from Bremervörde to its mouth in the Elbe. There`s no function anymore for the hanging bridge near Osten. More information on: www.schwebefaehre.org/ English/German
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Old November 7th, 2005, 01:14 AM   #5
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^ The one in Rendsburg is unique, because it is a railway bridge with a "hanging ferry" underneath.

The one in Rocheford is indeed still operational, I used it a couple of years ago. Perhaps I still have pics of it, I'll try and find them.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 07:32 AM   #6
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Thanks for the great link Railway Stock! Found a really cool photo of the Middelsbrough transporter
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Old November 15th, 2005, 06:50 AM   #7
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I had no idea bridges like this even existed. Awesome find.
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