Feature image courtesy of Gareth James.
Opened by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother on 18th August 1966, the Tay Road Bridge crosses the Tay estuary linking Newport in north east Fife with the City of Dundee. Designed by William Fairhurst and built by the Muir of Ord-based construction company Duncan Logan Ltd (Contractors), the bridge is 2250 metres (1.4 miles) long and crosses the Tay 10 metres (32 feet) above water level. A 15.5 metre (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.
There are 42 spans and each of the two lane carriageways is 6.7 metres wide with a 3 metre wide footpath in the central reservation. The twin parabolic columns rise from 5.5 metres above sea level on the Dundee side to 30.5 metres in Fife. These support twin hollow steel box girders 3.65 metres wide by 3 metres deep, topped by a 300 millimetre thick composite concrete slab carrying the roadway. The gradient is 1 in 81 throughout. 140,000 tons of concrete, 4,600 tons of mild steel bar reinforcement and 8,150 tons of structural steel were used in its construction. The cost of the bridge and its approaches was £4.8 million, which was probably money well spent as the shortest road route prior to this was 50 miles via Perth.
Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the bridge took place on Sunday 21st August 2016. A procession of Harley-Davidson motorbikes roared across, whilst on the musical side a selection of pipe bands and other performers, including Sheena Wellington, took to the stage in Dundee’s Slessor Gardens. Vintage buses ran from Dundee to Newport and Tayport, complemented by boat trips commemorating the Tay ferries and following their former route. Xplore Dundee’s corporation bus also formed part of a vintage vehicle procession crossing the bridge on Sunday afternoon. On the Fife side of the bridge, there was a vintage farmers market between 10am and 4pm at The Newport Hotel, and a display of classic cars in Tayport.
The day was blessed with very good weather, voted a great success by all involved and well attended throughout.