Oh, bollards!

I’ve been a fan of the elegant Gateshead Millennium Bridge since it first appeared on the Tyne. I think it’s the combination of being a sound engineering solution to a particular set of requirements[1] with a beautiful curvy design that makes it something special, even when compared to the other fine bridges between Newcastle and Gateshead. I’ve taken a few pictures of the bridge over the years, such as this one:

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

Gateshead Millennium Bridge

and this more full view

Now that's what I call wide

Now that's what I call wide

But there has always been a problem, that mars the beautiful view. The BOLLARDS:

Bollards to you!

Bollards to you!

These rather ugly lumps are arranged in two lines and at the time the bridge was opened were installed at the insistence of (if memory serves, and it may not, it’s like that) the Port of Tyne Authority, who had concerns about ships possibly colliding with the bridge, which would of course be a Bad Thing.

I’ve never liked the bollards, and always wished they could be dispensed with, so I was very happy to read in the latest Gateshead Council News that following a new safety assessment, the bollards will be removed. The safety aspect will be handled by “enhanced navigation lights”, which should also add some interesting glows and reflections to the bridge.

Apparently it’s going to be cheaper to remove the bollards than to continue paying to maintain them, so it’s a good result all round. The view is expected to be improved by the end of this year.

Pictures of the enhanced view will appear in due course…

Update, May 2011: Hmmm. Well over a year has gone by, and the bollards are still there. Mutter.

[1] Had to have level access from the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides, needed to be high enough in the middle for smaller boats to pass under, and had to open for larger shipping.