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Tyne and Wear HER(1712): Sunderland, Queen Alexandra Bridge - Details

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Sunderland, Queen Alexandra Bridge




Road Bridge




Designed by Charles A Harrison and constructed by Sir William Arrol & Co, builders of the Forth Rail Bridge. The purpose of the rail bridge was to connect the coalfields of Annfield Plain and Washington with Sunderland's South Docks. Agreement to build the bridge was reached in 1899 and the approaches were completed by 1907, by Mitchell Brothers of Glasgow. By 1909 the Bridge was complete and was ceremoniously opened by the Earl of Durham. The footings are of Norwegian granite based on solid clay whilst the arches were of red sandstone, shipped to the Wear from Lockarbriggs Quarry, Dumfriesshire. The 330 feet centre span, which is 3 times heavier than that of the Forth Rail Bridge, stands some 85 feet above high water level, and is connected to two 200 feet side spans to the north and one 200 feet land span to the south. The following quantities of material were used: 350,000 bricks, 8,500 tonnes of steel, 60,000 tonnes of red sandstone and 4,000 tonnes of granite. Although primarily a rail bridge, facilities were also made for a road and pathways on the lower deck, with gas and water mains flanking the upper deck. Due to the fall in coal exports, the upper deck closed to regular rail traffic in 1921. The semi-redundant rail deck was used as a platform for searchlights and anti-aircraft guns during World War Two. LISTED GRADE 2




<< HER 1712 >> Tyne and Wear Industrial Monuments Trust, 1978, Sites of interest in River Wear plan area I. Ayris & S.M. Linsley, 1995, A Guide to the Industrial Archaeology of Tyne and Wear, p 20-21 I. Ayris, 1990, Queen Alexandra Bridge, Sunderland report F.C. Buscarlet & A. Hunter, 1910, The Queen Alexandra Bridge over the River Wear, Sunderland, Minutes of the Proceeings Institute Civil Engineers, paper 3824 D. Caslaw, 1982, Built to last, 12 years, Sunderland and Washington Times, issue 137, Oct 28 1982

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