Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Humber Bridge

click photos to enlarge
For the 16 year period from its opening in 1981 until 1997 the Humber Bridge was the world's longest single span suspension bridge. It is currently the sixth longest though apparently retains first place among the longest suspension bridges that you can cross on foot or by bicycle! I've never crossed it on foot but I've done so several times on a bike.

During the years that the Humber Bridge was built we lived in the city of Hull (as Kingston upon Hull is more generally known) which is to the east of the northern point of the span. Before the bridge's completion the River Humber presented a barrier that could be crossed only by passenger ferry or by road via a circuitous detour of many miles, both of which we enjoyed and endured. The rationale for this major construction was to promote a wider area of economic activity that embraced both banks of the river. That never really happened. One reason was the debt that was incurred to construct the crossing, a figure that over the years grew instead of falling. An initial cost of £98 million had, by 1998, reached the enormous sum of £360 million. Despite write-offs it was still £333 million in 2008. It was the size of this debt that caused toll charges to be unfeasibly high. And, of course, high toll charges deterred many potential users, reducing income and making any reduction of the debt impossible. However, in 2011 the government agreed to write off a further £150 million. This allowed the toll for a single crossing to be halved from £3.00 to £1.50, a change that was implemented on 1st April 2012. It remains to be seen if this has any effect in terms of increasing traffic and promoting additional economic activity in the region or whether it is just too little too late. From a personal point of view it makes our visits to Hull a little less expensive than they were.

I took today's photographs from the "Water's Edge" visitor and business centre on the south bank of the river at Barton upon Humber. The smaller image is a crop of a shot taken with a lens at 300mm. As I was writing this piece I remembered that I'd posted a shot of the bridge in the early days of the blog. Here it is. I recall being particularly proud of the title I chose for this one!

photograph and text © T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 20mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1250 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On