Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge 245 feet (75 meters) above the water, has become an object of local pride and national interest. It is a tourist attraction and a symbol for the promotion of Bristol commerce.

The iron structure, with a main span of 702 feet (214 meters), challenged conventional wisdom and pushed the new material and cotemporary technology beyond the theoretical limits.

Completed in 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge was mainly designed to carry light horse-drawn traffic and foot passengers, but these days around 12,000 cars cross it every day.

The foundation stone to a bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel was laid in 1837, almost a century after a bequest of £1000 by William Vick in 1753,

There were delays for other reasons, including the 1831 Bristol riots associated with the Reform Bill, but lack of funds was the main problem. Work did not start until 1836. More financial shortfalls caused an interruption in 1853 and the piers stood untouched for some years.

It remained unfinished at Brunel’s death in 1859 and shortly after the Institution of Civil Engineers led a commercial initiative to complete to to remove ‘what was considered a slur upon the engineering talent of the country’.

The Clifton Bridge as finally opened n 1864 and was operated by a company financed by tolls.
Clifton Suspension Bridge
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