The Queen Elizabeth II Metro Bridge links the Metro light railway systems on each side of the river and was built for the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and opened on 6 November 1981 by the Queen. Metro trains then ran from the Haymarket to Gateshead and Heworth, and later to South Shields and Sunderland in 1984 and 2003 respectively. The bridge has three spans and is supported on concrete piers set in river bed near the banks. It is 360 metres long and the span between the piers is 168 metres. There are two tracks and the trains plunge into tunnels at either end to enter underground sections of the line.
A high level road used by buses passes just below the bridge on the Gateshead side from which good views of crossing trains can be obtained. On the Newcastle side the road is much lower, running along the quayside.
In 2007 a lighting system was installed at a cost of £300,000 which illuminates the recently repainted blue bridge. The scheme, called Nocturne, is the work of artist Nayan Kulkarni and uses LED lights to create an ever-changing combination of colours which move across the bridge's structure. It is Britain's biggest light artwork.