Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Right Royal Opening for Newest Bridge; HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WAS IN TOWN 15 YEARS AGO

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Right Royal Opening for Newest Bridge; HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN WAS IN TOWN 15 YEARS AGO

Article excerpt

Byline: NOSTALGIA DAVE MORTON recalls the people and places of the North East EMAIL: david.morton.editorial@ncjmedia.co.uk TELEPHONE: 0191 2016437 WRITE TO: Dave Morton, Nostalgia Editor, The Chronicle, Groat Market, Newcastle, NE1 1ED @DaveSMorton Newcastle Chronicle - History Photosales - 0191 201 6000

HEN was the Millennium Bridge opened? WIt must have been 2000, we hear you say.

Well, in fact, it was only lowered into position on November 20 of that year.

It opened to the public on September 17 of the following year.

And it wasn't until this week in 2002 - 15 years ago - that the new link between Newcastle and Gateshead was officially opened by Her Majesty the Queen during her Golden Jubilee tour.

(She officially opened the Newcastle to Sunderland Metro extension on the same day).

The bridge's story began in 1996 when Gateshead Council took the decision to enter the race for millennium funding and announced a design competition for a new bridge.

Over 150 entries were received from architects and engineers worldwide. From a shortlist of six, the entry from Gifford and Partners (engineers) and Wilkinson Eyre (architects) was unanimously chosen by the panel of judges.

The unique "blinking eye" tilting design of the bridge was a world first for Tyneside.

When the bridge was opened it would provide a 30-metre navigational channel, equal to the Swing Bride, and headroom clearance, when open, of 25 metres, equal to the Tyne Bridge.

In October, 2000, one of the world's largest floating cranes, Asian Hercules II, arrived on the Tyne to lift the bridge into position. Bad weather postponed the spectacular operation until the following month.

The bridge, along with the Sage music centre and Baltic modern art gallery symbolised a reborn, post-industrial Tyneside.

When it finally opened in September 2001, thousands queued to use the new Tyne crossing on an overcast windy day.

Fast forward to May 7, 2002, and the Chronicle reported on the official royal opening. …

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