Itchen Bridge was opened in 1977, replacing the old floating bridge which had operated as the main crossing between Southampton and Woolston since 1836. In the 20th century, with increasing amounts of traffic, a more direct route from the city centre to Portsmouth and beyond was needed. From the 1920s and 1930s the corporation considered various options for crossing the Itchen by bridge and by tunnel. It was decided, however, that the rebuilding of Northam Bridge was a priority and plans for a new bridge were put on hold. The new Northam Bridge was opened in 1954, after which attention once again focused on building a bridge further south between Chapel and Woolston. The government refused to finance the scheme and it was left to the city council to find the necessary funds. In 1972 the councillors opted for a two-lane, high-level, non-opening bridge, paid for by tolls. The inauguration ceremony was held on 22 March 1974 and the completed bridge was opened in July 1977.

Itchen Bridge

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The new bridge photographed in 1977 with one of the old floating bridges it replaced.

Itchen Bridge

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Photograph, c.2010

see also

Further reading:

The Missing Link, by Brian Adams. (HS/ln)
Itchen Bridge, by the City of Southampton.( HS/ln)


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