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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 September 2006, 05:59 GMT 06:59 UK
City transporter bridge centenary
Newport Transporter Bridge
The bridge took four years to build Pic: Gareth Bowker
Newport's landmark transporter bridge across the River Usk is celebrating its centenary.

The bridge, one of only eight in the world, was opened on 12 September, 1906 by Viscount Tredegar.

It was built to cope with rapid development on the east side of the river and to take workers to the Lysaghts steelworks in particular.

Campaigners hope the Grade I-listed structure will eventually be made a world heritage site.

The anniversary is being celebrated with music and fireworks, and a special exhibition at Newport Museum and Art Gallery.

The occasion will also be marked with the opening of Newport's 5m foot and cycle bridge.

It's beautifully daft and it's a great experience going across it
Richard Parnaby, professor of architecture

In February, Newport Council agreed to spend 180,000 on restoring the bridge, including major improvements to the motor house on the river's east bank.

Anne Gatehouse, from the Friends of Newport Transporter Bridge (FONTB), said: "The bridge came about because of a chap called John Lysaghts who wanted to build a steel works in Newport - which he did.

"Part of the bargain with the town council was that he asked for a bridge near to the area where most of his workers would be living."

Newport Transporter Bridge

She said the structure, one of the highest and longest transporter bridges in the world, was built to cope with the river's high tidal reach and so ships with tall masts could pass underneath.

"It's definitely iconic - it's the icon of Newport and of Wales really. The whole of the Welsh nation should be proud of it," she said.

"Let's hope it goes for another 100 years."

Richard Parnaby, professor of architecture at the University of the West of England, Bristol, said the bridge was an "eccentric and wonderful" structure.

"It's clearly a pretty daft idea - the capacity is obviously extremely limited - but it's beautifully daft and it's a great experience going across it," he added. "It's so nice to be able to travel on it."


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SEE ALSO
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Final touches to city footbridge
10 Aug 06 |  South East Wales
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02 May 06 |  South East Wales

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