Humber Bridge was, when it was opened to traffic in 1981, the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. It maintained this standing until 1998 when it was surpassed by the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Japan. Today, Humber Bridge facts and statistics place it as the fifth longest such bridge in the world, behind the Japanese structure, the Xihoumen Bridge in China, the Great Belt Bridge in Denmark, and the Runyang Bridge across the Yangtze River in China.
The history of Humber Bridge facts began as long as ago as 1872 when local businesses and merchants began to organize and find a way to cross the Humber Estuary, which had been a barrier to trade. The 1872 proposal involved plans for a tunnel. The next 100 years saw several new proposals that included everything from improved ferry service to various types of bridges. The Humber Bridge in England that eventually was built was approved in 1959, although construction didn’t begin until 1973.
This is a very large tidal estuary formed by the confluence of the River Ouse and the River Trent, and the Humber Bridge eliminated the long drive around it, uniting two formerly remote regions of the country and providing more convenient access for visitors to this coastal area in North Yorkshire. Today, more than 120,000 vehicles, both commercial and private, cross the bridge each week. Among these are vacationers in UK car rentals and the deluxe motorcoaches of tour operators on tours of England and Scotland.
A single-span suspension structure was chosen for the Humber Bridge in England for two reasons. The bed of the estuary constantly shifts, meaning the navigable channels also shift. A more traditional bridge with multiple spans would restrict the movement of ships, which need to adjust to the shifting bed of the estuary. Since this estuary is a major port for North Sea ferries traveling to the continent (Zeebrugge in Belgium and Rotterdam in the Netherlands), it was important that navigation not be impeded.
The imposing Humber Bridge is 7,283 feet long. Its center span that allows the vital navigation of ships is 4,626 feet long. It is so long that it is said its two towers are not parallel to each other (even though they are vertical) due to the earth’s curvature. Among the Humber Bridge facts are the statistics of its engineering, including the fact that it can withstand winds up to 80 miles per hour and actually sways and bends as much as ten feet in those winds.
Even though the Humber Bridge in England is no longer the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world, it remains the longest that can be crossed on foot, due to the fact that its lower level has both a footpath and a bicycle path. Its suspension cable wires can encircle the earth twice. If you have booked UK car rentals, you should be aware that there is a one-way toll that must be paid in local UK pounds. Because of this revolutionary bridge, the many attractions of the city of Hull are much more accessible to tourists traveling through that area.