The 1,410-metre long Humber Bridge has been granted Grade I listed status on the 36th anniversary of its opening.
Car drivers pay £1.50 in each direction to cross the toll bridge, with more than 22,000 vehicles a day making the crossing. The bridge spans the Humber Estuary, connecting the East Riding of Yorkshire (close to the city of Hull) with North Lincolnshire.
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“The Humber Bridge has been listed at Grade I, a status given only to buildings of the most exceptional architectural and historic interest,” said an English Heritage spokesperson. “It combines engineering skill and good design to create a sophisticated structure and a sublime landmark.”
Eight other locations around Hull have been listed as a celebration of its 2017 City of Culture status.
When the Queen opened the Humber Bridge in June 1981 after eight years of construction, it was the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world. A total of 480,000 tonnes of concrete went into making the bridge, along with 44,000 miles of wire.
A suspension bridge was chosen for the crossing because the Humber has a shifting bed and the navigable channel along which craft can travel is always changing. This means a conventional bridge with regular support pillars could obstruct the channel. A tunnel was deemed too expensive because of the geology of the area.
Before work was completed, motorists would have to travel a 60-mile detour along the Humber to the town of Goole before making the crossing. Alternatively, a ferry service operated, but this struggled to cope with the volume of traffic and couldn’t run in all weathers. A hovercraft service was briefly trialled in the 1960s.