The Menai Suspension Bridge in Wales

The Isle of Anglesey and the mainland of Caernarfonshire are connected by means of a suspension bridge that dates back to the Victorian era and is known as the Menai Suspension Bridge.

Thomas Telford and Sarah Guppy collaborated on the design of the Menai Bridge, which was the first suspension bridge in the world to be constructed to withstand heavy traffic. The bridge was opened for traffic on January 30, 1826.

It measured 386 metres in length and had a main span that was 579 feet and 176 metres long when it was constructed, making it the longest bridge in the world at the time. It was hung from wrought iron chains and suspended from 30 metres above the high tide mark, leaving plenty of room for ships to pass underneath it. However, the bridge deck was damaged by severe storms and had to be replaced on two separate occasions, the first time in 1893 and the second and final time with a steel deck in 1940.

Before construction on the bridge began in 1826, Anglesey did not have any permanent connections to the mainland. As a result, the only way to get to or from the island was to take a ferry across the swift and treacherous waters of the Strait of Menai.

In addition to assisting the island’s agricultural community, the construction of the bridge made travel between Ireland and Anglesey more convenient.

In years gone by, Anglesey’s primary source of revenue came from its livestock. In order to transport them to the markets on the mainland, which included London, they were required to be led into the water and then encouraged to swim across the Strait. This was a risky practise that, on occasion, resulted in tragic outcomes.

On the Anglesey side, we remember the times when it wasn’t that easy to get to the island. A small church built in the 14th century stands on the site of a chapel that was established in 630 AD by Saint Tisilius. This chapel served as a place for travellers to stop, pray, or give thanks for a safe crossing.

The engineer Thomas Telford was given the task of examining the path from London to Holyhead, and he suggested constructing a bridge over the Menai Strait as part of his report.

The bridge was added to the list of potential UNESCO World Heritage Sites on February 28, 2005. The list is a candidate list for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.

 

 

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