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27 November 2014

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You are in: Tyne > Places > Places features > Bamboo bridge

Constructing a bamboo bridge over the River Tyne

Building the bridge over the Tyne

Bamboo bridge

An eighth bridge was constructed over the River Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead... using 20 tonnes of bamboo.

The NewcastleGateshead quayside is famous for its iconic series of bridges which span the breadth of the River Tyne.

From the much-loved arch of the Tyne Bridge to the bright splash of colour provided by the repainted Metro bridge, each of the bridges has its own identity.

Constructing a bamboo bridge over the River Tyne

The bridge was made entirely by hand

In July 2008 an eighth bridge was constructed across the river between Newcastle and Gateshead - made out of bamboo!

The temporary suspension bridge, which spanned more than 100 metres, was built between the Tyne and Gateshead Millennium Bridges by Australian company Bambuco.

New connection

Work began on 24 June 2008 and the final piece was put in place on Wednesday 16 July. Finishing touches were added on Friday 18 July when there was a special free celebration with music and flaming firepots on the bridge.

The initial phase of work focused on creating two 25-metre-high towers, one on either side of the river, which were then joined by a bridge made up of around 800 pieces of bamboo.

"Stringing a bridge across a river is a new thing so there is a bit of excitement there but we're pretty confident we've done our facts and figures."

Damien of Bambuco

"There's something wonderful about a bridge going up and that sense of a new connection being made," said Stella Hall, creative director of the NewcastleGateshead Initiative at the time.

"And with Newcastle and Gateshead connecting in so many different ways a bridge is a very apt metaphor for the relationship between them."

The bridge was created as part of the 2008 SummerTyne Festival and also to tie in with the 80th anniversary of the Tyne Bridge.

Strange sight

Bambuco specialise in creating massive sculptures out of bamboo but had never attempted making a bridge before.

"After we've done the two towers either side we then string the rig or the suspension part of the bridge," explained Damien from Bambuco during the initial phases of work.

"Stringing a bridge across a river is a new thing so there is a little bit of excitement there but we're pretty confident we've done our facts and figures and our structure and our theory is all good."

Bamboo bridge under construction by River Tyne

Riggers need a head for heights

Passersby watched the construction work as it progressed and even during a wet and gloomy morning rush hour the strange sight caused plenty of people to stop and stare from under their brollies.

But though people could look at the bridge they were not able to cross it... that experience was reserved for the Bambuco team, many of whom are experienced climbers.

Working on such a project certainly requires a head for heights!

The finished bridge was on display for the opening weekend of the Summer Tyne festival from 18-20 July 2008. The bridge was then dismantled.

You can see how the bridge was created with our photos and video:

last updated: 21/07/2008 at 10:30
created: 11/07/2008

You are in: Tyne > Places > Places features > Bamboo bridge



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