Highway Star

Posted on 15th September 2013

A few years ago I posted about whether the M6 viaduct over the Gravelly Hill area of Birmingham, was the longest bridge in the UK. In February 2012, someone added a page to Wikipedia for the bridge, which appears to be called the Bromford Viaduct. The Wikipedia page references the same page I found from the Motorway Archive, but nowhere on that page did it reference the name. So now I had two questions:

  1. Is the Bromford Viaduct its official name?
  2. Is this still the longest bridge in the UK?

Regards the name, it would seem that the proposals for HS2 refer to it as the M6 Bromford Viaduct. After some further searching, it would seem that The Highways Agency calls it the Bromford Viaduct too, so I guess that is its official name, seeing as they are the government department in charge of UK roads. I still think the Spaghetti Viaduct sounds better :)

However, the second question still remained unanswered. On the Motorway Archive page it states the bridge "was then the longest continuous viaduct in Great Britain", which implies it no longer is. Having said that, in November 2010, a few months after my initial post, it seems someone else had thought the same thought, and added the bridge to the Wikipedia page for the longest bridges. Seeing as there is no other mention of a longer UK bridge and the Second Severn Crossing is measured as being 472m (1576ft) shorter, I think, until proven otherwise, Brummies can be proud to have the longest bridge in the UK.

File Under: birmingham / bridges / road

View From A Bridge

Posted on 31st August 2010

When is a bridge not a bridge? Apparently when it's a viaduct. Though having said that, it seems some are more insignificant than others.

About 20 years ago, I was told a fact that didn't seem that far fetched, and every so often I've tried to verify whether it was true. This weekend I found a page on the web that seemed to give a definite answer, except every other web page relating to the question seems to completely ignore this particular structure.

The fact I was told was that at the time the longest bridge in the UK was the M6 over Birmingham. Now having driven over that particular section on several occasions, I was intrigued to find out how long it was. My amateur attempts of measuring the rough distance from Junction 5 (Castle Bromich) to just past Spaghetti Junction (Gravelly Hill), aka Junction 6, found the distance to be just under 4 miles. However, as I was on top of the bridge deck I wasn't able to tell exactly where the bridge begins and ends. Until now I've never seen a reference to the exact distance.

This weekend I came across a page on the Motorway Archive, which states "The section between Gravelly Hill and Castle Bromwich is 3½ miles, which was then the longest continuous viaduct in Great Britain". Okay so it's not classed as a bridge, but a viaduct, although at 3.5 miles it does re-enforce the belief that it was the longest when I was told the fact.

So what is the longest bridge/viaduct in the UK? According to the Wikipedia page for the longest bridges, the longest in the UK is The Second Severn Crossing. However, that is only recorded as 3.2 miles long, and the M6 viaduct over Birmingham isn't mentioned. On answers.com someone else also asked the same question. The answer there states the Humber Estuary Bridge has the longest single span in the UK, but again The Second Severn Crossing is the longest in distance. On Flickr someone else wanted to know the longest viaduct in the UK, and again the M6 viaduct doesn't get a mention, as they only mention rail bridges.

Aside from the links above, I can't find anything that relates specifically to UK bridges, and many of the pages listing longest bridges in the world rarely list more than a small selection. So what is the longest bridge in the UK? I still think it's the M6 over Birmingham, but may be the reason it doesn't get mentioned is that it doesn't appear to have an official name. I'd suggest the Spaghetti Viaduct, seeing as it's one of the strands as part of Spaghetti Junction. If anyone has a definite answer, I'd be delighted to know.

File Under: birmingham / bridges / structures

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