Newport Bridge

Newport Bridge

The massive structure of Newport Bridge was opened to traffic on 28 February 1934, by the Duke of York.

The Newport Bridge spans the River Tees a short distance upriver from the Transporter Bridge. It was designed by Mott, Hay and Anderson and built by local company Dorman Long, who were responsible for such structures as the Tyne Bridge and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  It took just under three years to build and was opened by the Prince Albert, Duke of York (later to be King George VI) on 28 February 1934.

It was the first vertical lift bridge in Britain and the largest and heaviest of its type in the world. It took only seven minutes to lift and lower the 2,700 ton span – it could be lifted 90 feet, giving a clearance of 120 feet at high water allowing river traffic access to Stockton. The whole moving load weighed a massive 5,400 tons and ten to twelve men were employed full time to operate it.

In the 1950s, when the Iron and Steel industry on Teesside was at its height, the bridge was extremely busy not only with road traffic but with the number of ships requiring to pass under it.  As the years passed and road traffic increased, the raising of the bridge began to cause huge traffic jams.  By the mid 1960s, just before the A19 viaduct was built, traffic delays were increasing month by month. h downstream from Yarm, so when the bridge was raised at rush hour times, it was simply chaos.

Legal requirement to lift the bridge for shipping traffic was removed in 1989 after the repeal of a Parliamentary Act and in June 1989 it was announced that Newport Bridge would be permanently fixed. In November 1990, the Newport Bridge was raised and lowered for the last time by Bridge Master Ian MacDonald.

Newport Bridge still serves as a road bridge today carrying traffic between Stockton and  Middlesbrough.