Humber Bridge

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Humber Bridge
Humber Bridge
Bridge seen from the south bank
Official name Humber Bridge
use Road traffic
Convicted A15
Crossing of Humber
place Hessle, near Hull
Entertained by The Humber Bridge Board
construction Suspension bridge
overall length 2220 m
width 28.5 m
Longest span 1410 m
Clear height 30 m
vehicles per day 120,000 (weekly)
building-costs £ 98,000,000
start of building 1972
opening June 24, 1981
planner Freeman Fox & Partners
toll see text
Coordinates 53 ° 42 '23 "  N , 0 ° 27' 0"  W Coordinates: 53 ° 42 '23 "  N , 0 ° 27' 0"  W.
Humber Bridge (England)
Humber Bridge

The Humber Bridge is one of the longest suspension bridges with a mean span of 1,410 meters and has spanned the Humber between Hessle and Barton-upon-Humber in England near Kingston upon Hull since 1981 . After its construction, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world for about 17 years .


For a long time the set estuary of the Humber harm the economic development of the two bank regions. Thus there were still well over a hundred years considerations, either to build a tunnel or a bridge.

The first serious proposal to cross the Humber was a tunnel variant from 1872. It was supported by traders and merchants from Hull, as they were dissatisfied with the ferry service at the time. Over the next hundred years, various proposals were made to create a permanent link between the two banks.

In 1928 the city council of Hulls decided to build a bridge four kilometers west of the city between Hessle on the north and Barton-upon-Humber on the south side of the estuary. However, when Great Britain was hit by the Great Depression in 1929 shortly afterwards , the project disappeared without a trace.

New plans for a bridge were made in the 1930s and revised in 1955. The Humber Bridge Act , passed in 1959, was sponsored by the Kingston Upon Hull Corporation . As a result, the Humber Bridge Board was formed. It had the task of providing the necessary funds for the construction of the bridge and buying up the land required for the access roads.

However, until 1966 it seemed impossible to manage the financial outlay. In order to maintain his government, Prime Minister Harold Wilson prevailed against his Minister of Transport, Barbara Castle , and sanctioned the construction of the bridge.

Dismayed by the long wait for a fixed link, Christopher Rowe wrote a protest song called The Humber Bridge .

Construction of the bridge finally began on July 26, 1972. Freeman Fox & Partners (now called Hyder Consulting ) took over the planning of the construction . The superstructure was carried out by a joint venture headed by Sir William Arrol & Co. , then part of Northern Engineering Industries plc . The other partners were Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Co. , John Thompson Ltd. and Dorman Long .

After nine years of construction, the bridge was opened to traffic on June 24, 1981 and inaugurated on July 17, 1981 by Elizabeth II .


The annual traffic volume on the bridge, which is below expectations, with the associated lower toll income for debt repayment means that tolls have to be levied for longer than originally planned.

The fact that the bridge was the only one in the United Kingdom to also charge tolls for motorcycles led to an unusual type of protest in 2004: In order to obstruct the following traffic for as long as possible, bikers took their time paying at the toll station. They took off their helmets and gloves first, and then paid with the largest possible banknotes. The police registered a 6 km long tailback as a result of the protest. Although many letter writers called for motorcycle fees to be abolished, they persisted.

In order to be able to continue to guarantee the maintenance of the bridge, the British Parliament passed the Humber Bridge (Debts) Act in 1996 ; with this the financial structure of the Humber Bridge Board was reorganized. Most of the debt has been suspended but not completely canceled. Now that the active part of the debt is reduced, it will gradually be reactivated.

In 2006 a bill was presented to Parliament, supported by MP Shona McIsaac . The bill would have meant changes to the Humber Bridge Act 1959 . This change should allow toll-free bridge crossings for medical treatment and appoint two members of the Humber Bridge Board to represent the NHS. Although the bill was even met with bipartisan approval (and backed by Home Secretary David Davis and all other North Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire MPs), there was not enough time to implement later that year.

On September 1, 2007, a protest was staged at the bridge with the support of the Cancer Patients Involvement Group , the Road Haulage Association , MEP Diana Wallis and business representatives. The government responded to the action that any concessions or waivers on the bridge tolls were a matter for the Humber Bridge Board .

In the face of rising tolls, the Scunthorpe Telegraph , the Grimsby Telegraph and the Hull Daily Mail launched a campaign in October 2008 with the aim of eliminating the toll. Only reducing usage costs to £ 1 was seen as a realistic alternative.

The independent inspector Neil Taylor looked at the advantages and disadvantages of the toll. On April 1, 2012, the tolls were reduced for motorcycles.


A single trip over the bridge currently costs (July 2021):

  • For motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians - free of charge
  • 1.50 £ for vehicles ≤ 3.5 t
  • £ 4.00 for 3.5–7.5 t vehicles as well as vehicles> 7.5 t with two axles and buses
  • £ 12.00 for vehicles> 7.5 t with three or more axles

Technical specifications

The footpath and bike path on the east side of the bridge

The bridge carries a four-lane road with a pedestrian and bicycle path on both sides. There is a continuous speed limit of 50 mph (around 80 km / h) on the bridge  .

The Humber Bridge is a total of 2220 m long from anchor block to anchor block. Its span between the pylons is 1410 m, that of the northern side opening 280 m and that of the southern 530 m.

Each pylon consists of a pair of 155.5 m high reinforced concrete pillars with a hollow cross-section; these are 6 m wide at the bottom and taper towards the top to 4.5 m. The pillars were erected using the slipform construction method without any lateral bracing. Only then were they stiffened by a crossbar directly below the bridge deck and by three more at equal intervals above the roadway. The pylons are able to sway up to 3 m in a hurricane (wind force 12). Due to the curvature of the earth , the pylons are 36 mm further apart at the top than at the bottom. The foundations of the pylon on the north bank are 8 m deep. The southern pylon stands in the water and has a 36 m deep foundation.

As with all suspension bridges designed by Freeman Fox & Partners since the Severn Bridge , the bridge deck does not consist of a lattice girder , but of an aerodynamically shaped, 22 m wide and 4.5 m high steel box girder , on which 3 m cantilevered walkways are attached.

The suspension ropes have a diameter of 68 cm. The hangers are not vertical, but alternately stretched obliquely forwards and obliquely backwards, so that two hangers always end at a common fastening point on the suspension cables and on the roadway girders, creating a zigzag pattern.

The two suspension ropes each consist of 14,948 steel cables 5 mm thick. The total length of the steel cables stranded for the bridge is 71,000 km. Each suspension rope weighs 19,400 t. A total of 480,000 tons of concrete were used for the bridge.

Until the completion of the Storebælt Bridge in June 1997, the bridge held the record as the longest suspension bridge in the world for 16 years. After the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge was opened in 1998 , it fell back to third place in this category. With the construction of three more suspension bridges in China and one in South Korea, the Humber Bridge is currently (as of October 2018) the eighth longest suspension bridge in the world . Since the beginning it has been the longest bridge in the world that can be crossed on foot. It serves as the highlight of the well-known Humber Bridge Half Marathon .

The bridge at dusk

The bridge reduced the distance between Hull and Grimsby by about 80 kilometers. Before the bridge opened, commuters had to use the ferry that ran between Hull and New Holland at the time . A second option was to cross the Ouse at Goole and the Trent at Scunthorpe by using the M62 , M18 and M180 motorways . In 1968 there was even a hovercraft connection between Grimsby and Hull . However, this soon had to be discontinued due to frequent technical defects.

Individual evidence

  1. Songs for Humberside ( Memento from July 18, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Humber Bridge. In: Structurae
  3. a b c About Us. Bridge website, accessed July 17, 2021 .
  4. Humber Bridge Protest - October 12th 2004 . Archived from the original on September 26, 2006. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  5. MP in Commons move to exempt hospital patients from bridge toll . In: Yorkshire Post . January 20, 2006. Archived from the original on August 10, 2006. Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved June 13, 2007. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. ^ Humber Bridge Bill (Failed Bill 2005/06 session) . In: . August 4, 2005. Retrieved March 21, 2007.
  7. Protest over Humber Bridge great . In: BBC News . September 1, 2007. Retrieved September 10, 2007.
  8. Humber Bridge - epetition reply . In: Official 10 Downing Street Website . Retrieved on January 15, 2008.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Dead Link /  
  9. Humber Bridge travelers see toll reduction. BBC News, April 1, 2012, accessed July 17, 2021 .
  10. Toll Charges / Restrictions. Bridge website (, accessed July 17, 2021 .
  11. a b c Technical Information. The Humber Bridge Board, archived from the original on January 16, 2018 ; accessed on July 17, 2021 (English).
  12. Humber Bridge Half Marathon

Web links

Commons : Humber Bridge  - collection of images, videos, and audio files