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Whitby Swing Bridge

Whitby's swing bridge

Whitby’s swing bridge

Whitby Swing Bridge

The River Esk has been crossed by bridges at this location for centuries. A grant made by King Edward III in 1351 allowed the collection of tolls for the maintenance of a bridge.

By the mid 1550s the tolls averaged around £6 per annum (£2,033 as of 2015).

In 1629 an agreement was made by the justices in the North Riding to replace a wooden bridge with one which included moving parts. This was later replaced by a drawbridge and the first swing bridge was opened in 1833, designed by Francis Pickernell.

By the early 20th century the limited 45-foot (14 m) clearance of the 1835 bridge was restricting the size of vessels which could be built up-stream of the bridge. A replacement swing bridge was commissioned by Whitby Urban District Council. It was designed by J Mitchell Moncrieff, later President of the Institution of Structural Engineers. It was opened by Mabel Theresa Duncombe, the daughter of the Viscount of Helmsley and the wife of local MP, Sir Gervase Beckett. The bridge consists of two leaves moved by electric motors, though only one leaf is generally opened..

Kyber Pass Whitby

Kyber Pass Whitby

The bridge originally carried the A171 road. To avoid congestion in the town centre, the road was diverted to a high level bridge over the Esk Valley built in 1980.

The bridge is not wide enough for vehicles to pass, so vehicular access to the bridge is controlled by traffic lights.

Until 2011 the bridge had a weight limit of 17 tons. This was reduced to 7.5 tons in 2011 by North Yorkshire County Council.

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