Gateshead Millennium Bridge
by Don Barker
Since the ancient Romans built the first span across the River Tyne between the towns of Gateshead and Newcastle in northeastern England, bridges have loomed large in the local landscape.
Newcastle's river skyline has become a veritable cacophony of bridges, forming vital transportation links supporting the local heavy industries of shipbuilding, coal mining, and iron and steel works. Now the newest piece in the illustrious collection, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, is once again making history.
Still under construction, this awe-inspiring bridge will operate like the lid of a giant eye slowly opening, forming an arch under which ships will pass. It is due to be completed in summer 2001, but already the bridge's development and build lifecycle has drawn the attention of curious visitors from all over the world.
Some 36,000 people lined the banks of the River Tyne to watch in amazement as the structure was carried upstream by the world's second-largest floating crane in November 2000. A live web cam transmitted the event all over the world. This project has captured the imagination of the local public as no other.
A Regeneration Program
More than £250 million is currently being invested in a regeneration program transforming Gateshead on the south bank of the River Tyne to match the Terry Farrell-refurbished Newcastle Quayside on the opposite bank.