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GGB Bearings in Gateshead Millennium Bridge pivot points

Gateshead Millennium Bridge: Main Pivots

May 12, 2020

Case Study


The award-winning Gateshead Millennium Bridge was conceived and designed by architects Wilkinson Eyre and structural engineers Gifford.

Gateshead Millennium Bridge pivots on 4 GGB self-aligning bearings

Often referred to as the ‘Blinking Eye Bridge’ because of its shape and its tilting method, the bridge is situated on the river Tyne in Newcastle, Northern England, linking the town of Gateshead on one side of the river with the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the opposite side.

The first bridge to pivot on four self-aligning bearings, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge has both a fixed and a floating bearing found on either side of the river. GGB-DB® maintenance-free bearings in bronze with graphite lubricant plugs and split stainless steel housings were manufactured for the project. The shafts were fitted with hardened steel sleeves with the correct hardness and surface finish for the bearing material.

GGB's DB Metal Bimetal Bearing

GGB-DB® bearings are ideal for industrial applications both on land and underwater. Our range of impregnated solid bronze bearings is intended for use in maintenance-free operations, under moderately high speeds and low loads. Designed for lubricated conditions, our metal and bimetal bearings are suitable for use in a wide range of operating conditions.


Application technical specifications:

  • Designed for 4 operations per day (max. 800 per year, min. 80 per year)
  • Total bridge weight is 900 tonnes

  • 4.5 minutes to rotate through the full 40° from closed to open 

  • 60 year bearing life requirement
  • Shaft sleeves: hardness 300 HB, surface finish 0.2 - 0.8 μm
  • Operating in temperatures ranging from -10°C to + 50°C in addition to sea water spray

Key Benefits:

  • Self aligning design
  • Self-lubricating material
  • Zero maintenance
  • Excellent performance under high loads and intermittent operation
  • Sliding surface with running-in film for initial movements
  • Long life time
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