Visitors to Teesside’s historic Transporter Bridge will get a new and better view than ever before thanks to a newly installed glass lift and viewing decks on the gondola, constructed using Pilkington Planar™ structural glazing as part of the £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund Tees Transporter Visitor Experience Project.
The unique bridge, the longest transporter bridge in the world, carries a suspended gondola across the river from Middlesbrough to Port Clarence and is a globally-renowned example of industrial architecture as well as being a popular local landmark.
Pilkington United Kingdom Limited supplied single-glazed laminated Pilkington Planar™ glazing for a glass viewing lift, which will allow visitors to be elevated to the top of the Bridge for the first time in the 103-year old structure’s history. Glazed viewing decks have also been installed on the gondola.
The upgrade work to the gondola has seen the reintroduction of views up and down the Tees sympathetic to the 1911 original structure, using Pilkington Planar™ glazing in the striking modern interpretation of the original design.
This enhancement works to the Bridge will help visitors enjoy panoramic elevated views from the bridge. The work reflects the latest stage in a number of innovations at the landmark, which over the past decade has also seen the Transporter transformed into a hub for extreme sports such as bungee jumping, zip lining and abseiling.
Chris Barr, design engineer at Pilkington Architectural, said: “Since opening over a century ago, this amazing structure remains a cutting-edge example of industrial engineering, treasured and iconic landmark that continues to transport users across the Tees.
“The new enhancement and refurbishment works will enhance the Bridge’s place as a tourist destination and we are proud that the Pilkington Planar™ system has been able to play a central role in this achievement.”
Pilkington United Kingdom Limited previously supplied Pilkington Planar™ glazing for the newly installed Winding House Viewing Area which enables visitors to see the workings of the Bridge’s mechanisms and motors.
Tees Transporter Bridge Education, Learning and Events Officer, Tosh Warwick, said: “The new enhancement works at the Bridge will greatly improve the visitor experience at Teesside’s landmark structure. The installation of a lift to the upper walkway is the realisation of a century-old ambition, while the glass sidings on the gondola reintroduce the ability to view up and down the Tees.”
The Grade II* listed icon has featured prominently on the big and small screen. The structure was the central theme of a series of the iconic BBC TV series Auf, Wiedersehen Pet, in which the gang were tasked with dismantling it as part of a hair-brained scheme to sell it to a Native American Indian buyer. The structure has also featured on Hollywood movie Billy Elliot and BBC shows including Coast, The One Show and Who Do You Think You Are?
Pilkington Planar™ is a leading structural glazing system that lends itself well to heritage projects thanks to its minimal framing requirements and low-profile stainless steel fittings.