Top 10: best road bridges

Sam Bisby

By: Sam Bisby

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the famous Forth Road Bridge’s official opening. The structure connects Fife on the East of Scotland with Edinburgh on the North of Scotland and we thought there would be no better way to celebrate the Forth Road Bridge’s anniversary than to look at the top 10 best road bridges in the UK.

Forth Road Bridge

Starting with the birthday bridge and spanning over 2,500m in length, the Forth Road Bridge was opened in 1964, after six years of construction. The bridge is composed of about 40,000 tonnes of steel as well as 125,000 cubic metres of concrete. Approximately 24 million vehicles cross the Forth Road Bridge each year and cost £19.5 million to construct.

Humber Bridge

The Humber Bridge crosses the Humber estuary connecting the East Riding of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire. With four lanes of traffic, a pedestrian path and cycleway, the Humber Bridge was opened in 1981 and designed by Bernard Wex. An average of 120,000 vehicles crossing the suspension bridge per week and the current toll for crossing the bridge is £1.50 each way for a car. The Humber Bridge is almost as long as the Forth Bridge at 2,220 metres long and the structure’s two towers are an impressive 155 metres high.

Severn Bridge

Crossing the River Severn and River Wye, the Severn Bridge is a motorway suspension bridge. The bridge, which is 1,600m long and designed by Gilbert Roberts, was opened in 1966 and granted Grade I listed status in 1999; the car toll to cross the bridge is £6.40. 

Queen Elizabeth II Bridge

Joining Dartford and Thurrock, the four-lane bridge forms part of the M25 motorway that crosses the River Thames. Completed in 1991 and designed by Hellmut Homberg, the structure runs parallel with the Dartford Tunnel. The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge was the second bridge east of London and approximately 150,000 vehicles that cross the bridge everyday.

Tower Bridge

The beautiful and famous Tower Bridge is a Grade I listed structure crossing the River Thames. It took eight years for the bridge to be constructed after being designed by Sir Horace Jones. At 224 metres long and 64 metres tall, the bridge isn’t exactly the longest but reins in millions of tourists each year. The Tower Bridge was decorated with the Olympics Rings for the 2012 Olympic Games and approximately 4,000 people use the bridge everyday. 

Tay Bridge

Almost 2,250 metres long, the Tay Road Bridge takes the four lanes of the A92 road from Newport-on-Tay to Dundee. The Tay Bridge crossing the Firth of Tay opened in 1966 and was designed by architect William Fairhurst. 

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge opened in 1864 connecting Bristol to North Somerset. Now a Grade I listed structure, the bridge has only been closed once in living memory due to high winds. Designed by celebrated civil engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, it is about 412m long and costs £1 for vehicles to cross it. The bridge recently had its 150th anniversary. 

Tyne Bridge

At 389 metres long and 17 metres wide, the Tyne Bridge carries the A167 road and is very comparable to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The bridge was designed by the engineering firm Mott, Hay and Anderson – the very same people who later designed the Forth Road Bridge. It was officially opened in 1928, after three years of construction and 59 metres tall.

Orwell Bridge

The Orwell Bridge is 1,287 metres long and opened in 1982. It spans the River Orwell carrying the A14 and took three years for construction to be completed, officially opening in 1982. 

Menai Suspension Bridge

Bridging the Menai Strait between Anglesey Island and mainland Wales, the Menai suspension bridge is around 417 metres long. The bridge, which began construction in 1819, was completed in 1826 and was designed by Scottish architect Thomas Telford.