New life begins at 50 for Tay Road Bridge

The Tay Road Bridge is about to celebrate 50 years of service, but is being rejuvenated with the new Dundee Waterfront being developed around it.

Tay Road Bridge Manager, Alan Hutchison, and Bridge Operations Manager Fiona Fraser, show off the banner on the waterfront walkway at the Dundee end of the structure.
Tay Road Bridge Manager, Alan Hutchison, and Bridge Operations Manager Fiona Fraser, show off the banner on the waterfront walkway at the Dundee end of the structure.
  • Updated: 22 July, 2016
Early works as the piers are constructed for the bridge.
Early works as the piers are constructed for the bridge.

The Tay Road bridge is about to celebrate 50 years of service and is a fine example of civil engineering.

In preparation for the celebrations and to raise awareness of the bridge, and to highlight the constant civil engineering input that is required to keep the bridge open as a major arterial route for Dundee and Fife commuters and travellers, Bridge Manager Alan Hutchison, an ICE member and chair of Dundee and area Branch, decided to put up #thisiscivilengineering historical banners. These recognise the pride and essential service past engineering works can still bring today.

At around 2,250 metres (1.4 miles), the Tay Road Bridge is one of the longest road bridges in Europe. Designed by William A Fairhurst, it took three years to build between 1963 and 1966 at a cost of £4.8 million. The main contractor was Duncan Logan (Contractors) Ltd of Muir of Ord. The main structure comprises 42 spans the majority of which are 55m in length increasing to 76.3m at the four navigation channels and reducing to 24.4m at the Dundee end.

The bridge has a gradient of 1:81 running from 9.75 m (32.0ft) above sea-level in Dundee to 38.1 m (125.0ft) above sea-level in Fife. Concrete piers in the river support twin concrete columns of parabolic shape that vary in height from 5.5m at the Dundee end to 30.5m at the Fife end. The twin columns support twin hollow steel box girders 3.65m wide and 3m deep, which in turn support a 300mm thick composite concrete slab carrying the roadway. The bridge carries an average of 26,000 vehicles each day with bridge tolls being abolished in 2008, allowing free passage across it today. A 50ft (15 metre) tall obelisk stands at the Newport (Fife) side, and a smaller one at the Dundee side.

Today the bridge stands at the centre of the multi-million pound Dundee Waterfront development which is creating a new and exciting project which will re-energise the area and reconnect the city with its waterfront area on the River Tay. Other attractions include the Antarctic exploration ship RRS Discovery, the new waterfront V&A Museum of Design iconic building, and the new gardens and railway station development, as well several mixed use building projects and the development of the old docks as a marina and leisure area.

The bridge team will be hosting a large public event on the new Slessor Gardens (part of the new waterfront development which is underway) in Dundee, along with local events in Tayport and Newport on the Fife side, on Sunday 21 August, 2016, to celebrate the construction of this iconic structure and the positive impact it has made to people's lives.

There will be vintage bus trips, limited boat trips (weather permitting), a parade of vintage cars across the bridge and around the new Dundee Waterfront, along with craft stalls, food and drink, children's crafting, the land train from Broughty Ferry, and lots more.

As work progresses the bridge takes shape.
As work progresses the bridge takes shape.
As the land was cleared ready for development it gave a clear impression of the large scale area to be developed between the road (foreground) and rail (top of pic) bridges.
As the land was cleared ready for development it gave a clear impression of the large scale area to be developed between the road (foreground) and rail (top of pic) bridges.
 

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