The Tay Road Bridge is a bridge across the Firth of Tay from Newport-on-Tay in Fife to Dundee in Scotland. At around 2,250 metres (1.4 mi), it is one of the longest road bridges in Europe, and slopes gradually downward towards Dundee. It carries the A92 road across the Firth and takes traffic directly into the centre of Dundee, just downstream of the Tay Rail Bridge.
As part of the modernisation projects of the 1950s, a road bridge across the Tay had been considered for several years. In August 1958 a traffic census and test bores were taken to locate the most suitable crossing for the bridge.
The bridge was designed by William A. Fairhurst and construction began in March 1963 with the infilling of West Graving Dock, King William Dock and Earl Grey docks in Dundee. The construction was undertaken by Duncan Logan Construction Ltd. Construction required the demolition of Dundee's Royal Arch where Queen Victoria had entered the city on a royal visit.
The bridge consists of 42 spans with a navigation channel located closer to the Fife side. During the construction of the bridge, 140,000 tons of concrete, 4,600 tons of mild steel and 8,150 tons of structural steel was used. The bridge has a gradient of 1:81 running from 9.75 m (32.0 ft) above sea-level in Dundee to 38.1 m (125.0 ft) above sea-level in Fife.
The bridge took 3½ years to build at a cost of approximately £6 million. Following the installation of the final 65 ton girder on July 4, 1966, the completed bridge was officially opened by the Queen Mother on August 18, 1966. A newsreel of this is available in the British Pathe web archive. For four days, many took advantage of the toll-free period to cross the bridge.
Viewing platforms were once a feature of the Bridge, however they were removed in the 1990s.
Former Tay ferry service
The Tay Road Bridge was built to replace the former Tay ferry service, popularly known in Dundee as "the Fifie". A passenger and vehicle ferry service across the River Tay operated from Craigie Pier, Dundee, to Newport-on-Tay.
Four vessels formerly operated the service, namely the B. L. Nairn and Sir William High (both Paddle Steamers built in 1929); the Abercraig and the Scotscraig (diesel powered, fitted with Voith Schneider propellors and built in the Caledon Shipyard in Dundee). The final ferry service was made on the day of the opening of the road bridge. The paddle steamers ended their days in Nigeria.
The opening of the road bridge also led to the closure of the railway line from Tayport to Dundee in 1969.
A 50 ft (15 m) tall obelisk stands at the Newport side, and a smaller one at the Dundee side, to commemorate Willie Logan, managing director of the company that constructed the bridge who was killed in a plane crash near Inverness, and five workers who died during construction. Both of these obelisks are designed as the piers of the bridge, each representing the height of the piers at that end of the bridge.
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