Queensferry bascule bridge

Queensferry bascule bridge

The Wales Coast Path crosses the river Dee on this steel bridge. The road deck originally lifted up for ships to sail upstream.

The first bridge here replaced a chain ferry, known as the lower ferry (the upper one being near Saltney). Funded by Flintshire and Cheshire councils, it was opened in 1897 by former Prime Minister William Gladstone, whose Hawarden home was nearby. He said Queensferry was previously known as Kingsferry, as it would become again after Queen Victoria’s reign, but the title “Victoria Jubilee Bridge” would ensure the new structure recalled the current monarch forever.

The exact opposite happened: the bridge was soon replaced to cope with growing road traffic, and Queensferry was never renamed Kingsferry!

One reason for the increased traffic was the construction, from 1910 onwards, of Garden City as model housing for workers at the John Summers steelworks, founded in 1895. The new bascule bridge was designed by county surveyor RG Whitley and Basil Mott, whose name lives on in the Mott MacDonald engineering consultancy. Mr Whitley also designed Rhyl’s Foryd Bridge.

The Queensferry bridge was completed in 1926. It’s now a listed building because its mechanism and structure have survived with few alterations, although the deck can no longer lift.

After the Second World War, traffic over the bridge increased rapidly as car ownership spread to the masses. In 1960 a new A484 bridge was constructed a short distance upstream of the bascule bridge. No lifting mechanism was needed because ships no longer travelled above Shotton.

Traffic continued to grow and the new bridge was carrying double the traffic it was designed for by 2018, when the Welsh Government (having taken advice from Mott MacDonald and others) announced a plan to build a pair of new A484 bridges at the same location.

Postcode: CH5 2RA    View Location Map

Wales Coastal Path Label Navigation anticlockwise buttonNavigation clockwise button