The Humber bridge

The Humber BridgeAlthough not a motorway bridge, no story of the strategic motorway system in the North East would be complete without some record of the Humber Bridge. When constructed in 1981 with a main span of 1,410 metres it held the record for the longest span suspension bridge in the world until overtaken by the Japanese.

The bridge which links the M180 with the M62 via the A15 and A63 Trunk roads resulted from studies by Freeman Fox & Partners the first in 1935, the second in 1955 and the promotion of a parliamentary bill in 1958 by the Kingston upon Hull Corporation. The Humber Bridge Acts of 1959-1973 gave powers to the Humber Bridge Board to construct, operate and maintain the bridge and acquire the necessary land and finance for its building and to take tolls for its use.

In 1969 the Government produced a report entitled "Humberside - A Feasibility Study" which recommended that the bridge should be built to enable the Humberside region to develop in the 1980's and induce commercial and industrial expansion.

In 1971 the government decided to lend the finance for the project to the Humber Bridge Board following which Freeman Fox & Partners were instructed to proceed with the design work.

The bridge has many innovatory features and the superstructure follows closely the concept first used for the Severn Bridge completed in 1966. An unusual feature, which resulted from topographical and geological considerations, in the inequality in length of the side spans; 280 metres at the north end and 530 metres at the south.

The contract for construction was awarded to a consortium of companies, British Bridge Builders comprising of Sir William Arrol, Cleveland Bridge and Engineering, Redpath Dorman Long and John Howard and Company. Construction was not without it's difficulties in dealing with the wrath of the Humber, the elements, and problems with steelworkers endemic in the industry at the time.

The Humber Bridge was opened by Her Majesty the Queen on the 17th July 1981.

For a detailed technical and photographic record together with a listing of the main people involved with this magnificent structure the reader is referred to "Bridging the Humber", compiled by George Wilkinson and published by Cerialis Press of York in 1981.