Blinking Eye Bridge, Outstanding Structure Award Featured
The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge spanning River Tyne in England between Gateshead's Quays arts quarter on the south bank, and the Quayside of Newcastle on the north bank. To allow ships to pass underneath, this whole assembly rotates as a single, rigid structure.
As the arch tilts lower, the pathway rises, each counterbalancing the other, and a pathway over the river is formed. The parabolic curves of the deck extend the 105m crossing distance to around 120m, giving enough extra length to provide the required clearance above the water. The appearance of the bridge when in motion leads to it sometimes being called the 'Blinking Eye Bridge' or the 'Winking Eye Bridge’ since its shape is similar to the blinking of an eye if seen from along the river.
The bridge is operated by six 45 cm diameter Hydraulic rams, three on each side, and each powered by a 55 kW electric motor. Small ships and boats up to 25 meters tall can pass underneath. The bridge takes as little as 4.5 minutes to rotate through the full 40° from closed to open, depending on wind speed. The construction of the bridge won the architects Wilkinson Eyre the 2002 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize, the 2003 Gifford IStructE Supreme Award, and in 2005, the Outstanding Structure Award from International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).
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