Scotswood Bridge

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Scotswood Bridge
ScotswoodBridge Side 2008.JPG
Coordinates 54°58′01″N 1°41′24″W / 54.967°N 1.690°W / 54.967; -1.690Coordinates: 54°58′01″N 1°41′24″W / 54.967°N 1.690°W / 54.967; -1.690
Carries Road
Crosses River Tyne
Locale Tyne and Wear, England
Design Steel through arch with suspended box girder deck.
Total length 138.9 m (456 ft)
Width 20.13 m (66.0 ft)
Clearance above 7.6 m (25 ft)
Construction start 1964
Construction end 1967
Opened 20 March 1967
Daily traffic Dual Carriageway

Scotswood Bridge is one of the main bridges crossing the River Tyne in North East England. It links the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank of the river with the MetroCentre and Blaydon in Gateshead on the south bank. It is situated 5.2 km (3.2 mi) upstream of the better-known city centre bridges.

The Chain Bridge[edit]

The first bridge across the river at this location was the Old Scotswood Bridge, or "The Chain Bridge" as it was known locally, it was a suspension bridge with two stone towers, from which the road deck was suspended by chains. It was passed by parliament in 1829 and designed by John Green, with construction beginning that year. When it was opened on 16 April 1831 it was the first bridge over the River Tyne to be opened during Tyneside's industrial era.

The bridge was freed from tolls in 1907; in 1931 the bridge needed to be strengthened and widened. The width was increased from 17 ft (5.2 m) to 19.5 ft (5.9 m) with two 6 ft (1.8 m) footpaths. The suspension cables and decking were also strengthened, allowing the weight limit to be raised to 10 tonnes (9.842 long tons; 11.02 short tons). The bridge eventually proved too narrow for the traffic it needed to carry and its increasing repair costs proved too much, after standing for 136 years, it was closed and demolished in 1967 after its replacement had been completed.[1]

The Current Bridge[edit]

A replacement for the Chain Bridge had been proposed as early as 1941. Permission was finally granted in 1960. A new bridge was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by Mitchell Construction and Dorman Long. Construction commenced on 18 September 1964, it was built slightly to the west of the Chain Bridge, which continued operating during the new bridge's construction. The bridge was opened on 20 March 1967, it is a box girder bridge, supported by two piers in the river and carries a dual carriageway road. Combined costs for demolition of the old bridge and construction of the new one were £2.5 million.[2]

Scotswood Bridge carried the traffic of the Gateshead A69 western by-pass from 1970 up until the construction of Blaydon Bridge and the new A1 in 1990. Between June 1971 and January 1974 traffic on the bridge was limited to single file to enable strengthening work to take place, which was needed to address design concerns, it has required further strengthening and repairs a number of times since; between 1979 and 1980, in 1983 and in 1990.[3]


  1. ^ "Scotswood Bridge (Chain Bridge)". Bridges on the Tyne. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  2. ^ "Fact File: The Scotswood Bridges". Tyne and Wear Archives. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Scotswood Bridge". Bridges on the Tyne. Retrieved 2008-07-09. 

Next road crossing upstream River Tyne Next road crossing downstream
Blaydon Bridge
(A1 road) 
Scotswood Bridge
Grid reference: NZ198636
Redheugh Bridge

Next rail crossing upstream River Tyne Next rail crossing downstream
Scotswood Railway Bridge
(disused rail, now carries water and gas mains) 
Scotswood Bridge
Grid reference: NZ198636
King Edward VII Bridge