Clifton Suspension Bridge Essay

Clifton Suspension Bridge Essay

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Clifton Suspension Bridge


The Clifton Suspension Bridge is located in Bristol England, and spans the beautiful Avon gorge. This bridge has become the symbol of Bristol much like the Eiffel tower has of Paris, and the Opera house has of Sydney. The story of the Clifton Suspension Bridge began in 1754 with the dream of a Bristol wine merchant who donated his life savings to build a bridge over the gorge. To decide on a suitable design for the bridge a competition was held. Thomas Telford, the leading civil architect of the time was the judge. Mr. Telford attempted to submit his own design; however the decision to declare himself the winner was overruled and a second competition was held. This time, contrary to the recommendation of Thomas Telford, 24 year old Isambard Kindom Brunel was declared the winner and appointed project engineer. Brunel’s design consisted of a suspension bridge that spanned the breath of the gorge. Telford disagreed with the concept of erecting a suspension bridge of this size in such an exposed position. His doubt was likely a result of the near destruction of his last project the Menai suspension bridge. Nonetheless Brunel was given his first commission, and construction on the bridge began. The foundation stone was laid in 1831, however the project was plagued with political problems and by 1843 the project was abandon with only the towers complete. Before the political and funding problems could be resolved Brunel died an unexpected death at just 53 years old and the project had to be finished with out him. The design of the bridge was altered after his death. The original scheme was far more ornate with stone lions and Egyptian inspired decoration, these were left off the engineers who finished t...


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...le plagued this project and by the time it was complete it was no longer the largest spanning bridge, though it is still a spectacular bridge sitting 76 meter above a deep gorge. Certainly a site worth seeing, apparently it is breathtaking to drive down the road to Bristol, turn a sharp corner and the white structure spanning the gorge. Today it costs 30p to cross the bridge in a car, pedestrians are not charged, and the speed limit has recently been raised to 25 miles per hour.

Work Cited

1.) http://www.clifton-suspension-bridge.org.uk/index.php, October 27, 2004

2.) http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Clifton_Suspension_Bridge.html, October
27, 2004

3.) http://www.farvis.com/bridge,htm.htm, October 27, 2004

4.) http://www.about-bristol.co.uk/lnd-00.asp, October 27, 2004

5.) http://www.brantacan.co.uk/suspension.htm, October 27, 2004

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