July 16, 2024

England: Union Chain Bridge opened

England: Union Chain Bridge opened

The historic Union Chain Bridge, built in 1820 over the River Tweed between Scotland and England, has reopened after extensive restoration. A connecting element, if you will, between the two countries. Architecture, but also coding.

Figure 1: Union Chain Bridge has reopened after extensive renovations – with a new twist. (Friends of Union Chain Bridge)
Figure 2: Large sections of the bridge were reconstructed and then rebuilt: an enormous and expensive challenge. (Screenshot BBC)
Figure 3: Locals hope that the bridge will once again become a tourist attraction. (Screenshot BBC)
Figure 4: The job eventually swallowed £10.5 million. Actually half of it was planned. (Northumberland County Council)

Beginning in 2020, the complex project saw much of the old bridge removed, restored, and then rebuilt. The repairs cost around £10.5 million and were delayed several times by a series of challenges.

Now that the good stretch has reopened, locals and tourists alike can walk/cycle/drive from Fyshwick in the Scottish Borders to Horncliffe in Northumberland – or a stone’s throw away and back again. History of the 10 Mile Detour in recent years.

As early as 2007, the bridge had to be closed for nearly a year due to construction issues before a campaign to renovate the nearly 200-year-old structure began in 2012. The desire of the local people to give the green light to the project is overwhelming.

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Union Chain Bridge Map
Approximate location of the Union Chain Bridge on the Scottish-English northeast border. (Own Representation / Wikipedia)

The budget and construction time almost doubled compared to the plan. Regardless, it’s worth it!

Refurbishment finally started in 2020, although it was planned to reopen a year and a half later – at a target of £5.6 million at the time. Then both almost doubled: duration and costs. You know it from other places too.

Incidentally, when it was first built, it was the longest steel suspension bridge in the world. At the time, it replaced a dangerous fort down the river at a cost of less than £8,000.
Then, on July 26, 1820, hundreds of visitors are said to have attended the inauguration.

Although it was short when it reopened, there was no doubt about the bridge’s meaning and purpose. Certainly for the region, but also for tourists like them BBC writes On the Scottish-English border, so to speak, he hopes there will be a new, old attraction.

(BBC video contribution: Renovation works in fast motion)

Speaking for a number of speakers at the re-opening, John Greenwell of the Scottish Borders Council said: “This is a symbolic bond between England and Scotland that has been preserved for generations now.”

However, whether this happiness will last politically remains to be seen. However, the issue of Scottish independence is not off the table with the renovation of the Union Chain Bridge. Especially not for generations, as it always seemed in the end.

Our geography quiz: Scotland’s landscapes

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