Bridges On The Tyne


Over the years there have been several proposals for bridges over the Tyne between the river mouth and Newcastle/Gateshead. Perhaps the most interesting were those intended to link North and South Shields. In 1825 at a meeting of the inhabitants of the two towns it was resolved to erect an iron suspension bridge between North and South Shields at an estimated cost of 93,000, but two steam ferries were instead established. In the late 19th century Tynemouth and South Shields formed a joint committee to look at the possibility of a bridge but an objection from the Tyne Improvement Commission (TIC) that shipping would be obstructed led to failure.

Another proposal from a company wanting to build a transporter bridge was ultimately defeated in Parliament. In the 1920's more proposals surfaced; for an opening cantilever bridge, for a railway tunnel and yet another bridge to be accessed by spiral ramps at either end to gain the necessary height to overcome shipping clearance problems voiced by the TIC. Other designs followed, for other cantilever bridges, one a novel cantilever swing bridge. Discussions between the councils and the Ministry of Transport for a road/rail crossing eventually came to nought owing to cost and TIC opposition. Since then no serious proposals have emerged for a road or rail crossing. It is strange that a bridge to link the Metro system on either side of the river has not been proposed, perhaps as part of a joint road/rail bridge. The favoured solution to demands for a new crossing seem always to involve a Howdon - Jarrow location, although this does enable linking of Teeside and the A1 in Northumberland, as with the Tyne Tunnel.

 Shields road bridges proposed

Road bridges at North/South Shields - 1887, 1893, 1901, 1930 (two proposals, one linking Tynemouth rather than North Shields), 1934.

 Shields road bridges proposed

Transporter bridge at North/South Shields - 1901.
Cantilever bridges at North/South Shields - 1926, 1929, (3 proposals).

© Bridges On The Tyne 2006