Tay Road Bridge

Tay Road Bridge
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Tay Road Bridge

The Tay Road Bridge crosses the Firth of Tay, linking Newport in NE Fife with the City of Dundee. At 2250m (1.4 miles) in length, this was the longest road bridge in the UK when it was opened on 18th August 1966 by Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother (1900 - 2002). It carries the A92 Trunk Road into the heart of Dundee, replacing a ferry service affectionately known as the Fifies. Passenger ferries had crossed the river here since at least the 12th century, with the addition of a vehicle ferry from c.1910. The bridge was designed by William A. Fairhurst and built 1963-66 by the Muir of Ord-based construction company, Duncan Logan (Contractors) Ltd. at a cost of £6 million. The structure comprises 42 spans, the majority of 55m (180 feet) in length but increasing to 76.3m (250 feet) over the four navigation channels and reducing to 24.4m (80 feet) at the northern end. The bridge leaves Dundee at only 9.7m (32 feet) above the river but rises at a gentle gradient of 1 in 81 to reach to 38m (125 feet) above the water at the Fife end, again to provide clearance for shipping. The roadway comprises a pair of dual carriageways, each 6.7m (22 feet) in width, with a 3m (10 feet) wide central route for pedestrians and bicycles between. The roadway is carried on a 300-mm (11¾-inch) thick composite concrete slab, supported on twin hollow steel box girders, 3.65m (12 feet) in width and 3m (10 feet) deep, which are carried on pairs of concrete columns built on concrete piers in the river bed. Construction required 140,000 tons of concrete, 4,600 tons of mild steel bar for reinforcement and 8,150 tons of structural steel, primarily in the box girders. Viewing platforms in the middle of the bridge were closed and removed in the 1990s.

The bridge is run by a public body; the Tay Road Bridge Joint Board, which comprises six councillors from Dundee City Council, five from Fife Council and one from Angus Council. Originally tolled in both directions, this was changed to southbound-only tolling in 1991 and then tolls were abolished completely in 2008. Finance for operation, maintenance and repair of the Tay Road Bridge is now provided directly by the Scottish Government.

A 15.5-m (51-feet) high obelisk at the Fife end of the bridge commemorates Willie Logan (1913-66), director of the construction company, Robert Lyle, former town clerk of Dundee, and five men who died while the bridge was being built.

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