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Photographer's Note

I like bridges in Newcastle upon Tyne. They are so photogenic. This one here, Millennium Bridge, you could have spotted in some of my previous uploads from Newcastle (CLICK HERE for example). Here I have struggled again how to present it. On one hand a close up would be nice. I could introduce some confusion and disorientation and create some interesting geometrical effect at the same time. On another hand it will raise the question of how this bridge looks like as a whole. As you see I went for a postcard-like less creative but more informative view.

This was an extraordinary day in the North East with almost no wind at all, and so the reflection was almost 100%. In fact it was perfect before I took out my camera.



Gateshead Millennium Bridge

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge is a pedestrian and cyclist tilt bridge spanning the River Tyne between Gateshead's Quays arts quarter on the south bank, and the Quayside of Newcastle upon Tyne on the north bank. The award-winning structure was conceived and designed by architect Wilkinson Eyre and structural engineer Gifford. The bridge is sometimes referred to as the 'Blinking Eye Bridge' or the 'Winking Eye Bridge' due to its shape and its tilting method. In terms of height, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is slightly shorter than the neighbouring Tyne Bridge, and stands as the sixteenth tallest structure in the city.

The bridge was lifted into place in one piece by the Asian Hercules II, one of the world's largest floating cranes, on 20 November 2000. It was opened to the public on 17 September 2001, and was dedicated by Queen Elizabeth II on 7 May 2002. The bridge cost £22m to build.

Six 45 cm (18 in) diameter hydraulic rams (three on each side, each powered by a 55 kW electric motor) rotate the bridge back on large bearings to allow small ships and boats (up to 25 m (82 ft) tall) to pass underneath. The bridge takes as little as 4.5 minutes to rotate through the full 40° from closed to open, depending on wind speed. Its appearance during this manoeuvre has led to it being nicknamed the "Blinking Eye Bridge".

The bridge has operated reliably since construction, opening to allow river traffic to pass. It also opens periodically for sightseers and for major events such as the Northumbrian Water University Boat Race and the Cutty Sark Tall Ships' Race. One of the principal requirements for opening the bridge is to allow access to HMS Calliope where Royal Navy patrol boat HMS Example is based.

The construction of the bridge won the architects Wilkinson Eyre the 2002 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling Prize. and won Gifford the 2003 IStructE Supreme Award. In 2005, the bridge received the Outstanding Structure Award from International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering (IABSE).

Tilt times for the bridge are displayed both on the bridge itself, and also on a page on the Gateshead Council website.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5233 W: 103 N: 13383] (53742)
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