The Humber Bridge

The Humber Bridge

The North Tower of the Bridge (M G Free)

The Humber Bridge was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1981. It is one of the marvels of modern engineering and was, until 1998, the longest single span suspension bridge in the world but there are now five other longer bridges of this type. However it is still the longest that can be used by pedestrians.

The bridge is 2,220 metres long and the towers, which are farther apart at the top than the bottom to compensate for the curvature of the earth, are 155 metres high. It was built at the narrowest point of the estuary known as the ‘Hessle Whelps’ and when completed it was admired for its design and elegance, but reviled by others as a bridge from nowhere to nowhere, the crossing comprises a dual carriageway with walkways for pedestrians and cyclists on both sides.

Although approval to build the bridge was granted in 1959 work did not begin until 1972 due to difficulties in financing the project. In 1966 Harold Wilson, the Prime Minister of the day, allowed Barbara Castle, the Minister for Transport, to give permission for the bridge to be built, hoping that the announcement would be a vote winner in the forthcoming Hull North by-election.

When the bridge opened it cost £1, for a car, to make a single crossing. By 2012 the price had reached £3 but on April 1st the toll charge was halved to £1.50 since when there has been an increase in traffic crossing the bridge.

The bridge replaced the Hull - New Holland Ferry that had been run by British Rail from the pier in Hull and is sited only a few metres from the place where the Hessle - Barton Ferry ran for part of the nineteenth century.

Prior to the building of the bridge there had been several other schemes to place a crossing over the Humber, all of which came to nothing.