Jubilee Bridge (Walney Island)
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Barrow in Furness|
Up until 1908 when the bridge finally opened, Walney Island was only accessible by ferry from Barrow. The ferry was operated by the Furness Railway Company, who also operated the nearby docks and were, quite coincidentally, dead against the construction of a bridge, throwing innumerable obstacles at it over the years before it finally opened.
First suggested in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria's Jubilee, it was to take another decade before this structure was opened to allow the people of Walney a permanent link with the outside world, or at least as close as they could manage. Thanks to the 'interfering' of the railway company, the bridge was significantly more expensive than originally planned, and this may have led to the toll that was imposed on the crossing.
The Main Structure
The structure consists of steel lattice trusses supported by cylindrical concrete legs sunk in pairs into the channel. The deck is wide, allowing three lanes of traffic with the middle lane being used as a turning lane for the junctions at either end. The pedestrian footways are cantilevered out beyond the main deck, and the parapets are also metal, painted variously silver, grey or pale blue over the years.
A Lifting Bridge
One of the biggest concessions that was given to the railway company to ensure that the bridge was built was that there had to be a lifting section to maintain the shipping channel. The original offer of 100' was rejected, and so a 120' opening had to be provided. This is done by two sections of the deck lifting away from each other near the centre of the channel. Due to the length of the bridge, the wig-wag lights and gates are actually set on the bridge.
The lifting spans consist of two semi-arched girders supporting the deck. The footways and parapet fences are much lighter weight, although more substantial than they used to be. Until the 1980s, the footways consisted of timber slats with open gaps between them. The parapets were of a similarly flimsy construction. However, they are now more conventional in design.
Approaching from Barrow, there is a roundabout immediately in front of the bridge, which marks the point where the A590 ceases to be primary. The other roads leading off the roundabout are unclassified routes providing access to the docks. On Walney Island, there is a traffic-light controlled staggered crossroads at the end of the bridge. The A590 turns left to cross the island whilst the other two, unclassified, roads provide access to Vickerstown, the largest settlement on Walney.