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York Millennium Bridge

The York Millennium bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the river Ouse. The bridge cost over £4 million. The main span is 80m. The structure consists of a welded steel box pathway suspended from an inclined stainless steel arch by radial ties - arranged like the spokes of a bicycle wheel.

The single arch is inclined to offset and completely balance the loads created by the walkway which is cantilevered out in the opposite direction.

Like all arches before it, including traditional stone and brick arches, the Millennium Bridge stainless steel arch is in compression. All the forces pulling down on it are pushed around the arch down to large 1 metre diameter columns of concrete buried deep underground. The box section decking is suspended below the arch by the stainless steel suspension wires. These are in tension and behave in much the same way as they would on a conventional suspension bridge. The box section deck is simply a hollow box beam but supported throughout its length by the wires connecting it to the arch.

To withstand the large tension (or pulling forces) where the wires connect to the deck, large stainless steel shackles and clevis pins have had to be designed and made. This joint has to be flexible to allow for movement as the bridge responds to temperature changes and dynamic forces caused by users or the wind for example.

The Millennium Bridge is distinctive because it uses a single inclined arch to offset the cantilevered walkway but there are other examples where arches are used to suspend the decking below - see the Sidney Harbour bridge (and the Runcorn-Widnes bridge which is a scaled down UK version of it). See the Brantacan Bridges web site for a very good explanation of this technology with link to famous examples such as The Royal Albert Bridge at Saltash, by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
York Millenium Bridge main view - click for full size image

York Millenium Bridge main view

Overlay showing key structural elements - click for full size image

Overlay showing key structural elements

detail of suspension tie anchor - click for full size image

detail of suspension tie anchor

detail of suspension tie anchor - click for full size image

detail of suspension tie anchor

Structure information

Submitted by

Phil Driscoll



Build date


Date photo taken



Richard Jobson, Scott Lomax, Des Mairs, Mark Whitby

Materials used

Stainless steel arch with welded steel decking

Related URL

York Millennium Bridge website



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