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Heritage project reveals unique Rio bridge pics

13 June 2014


A placement student has helped to uncover the connection which bridges Teesside industry and Rio de Janeiro, this year’s World Cup host city.

Teesside University History student Tim Butler is working on the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience project, which has uncovered hundreds of images at Teesside Archives of the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, built by Cleveland Bridge and Redpath Dorman Long.

The bridge was constructed in the early 1970s and was the fifth longest road crossing in the world when it was opened in 1974, spanning 14 kilometres across the Guanabara Bay. Connecting Rio and Niteroi, the structure was hailed as ‘a striking example of Anglo-Brazilian co-operation’.

Forty years on, it will be one of the main transport connections for millions of fans attending this year’s World Cup finals in Rio.

The Teesside Archives’ Cleveland Bridge Collection material includes documents reporting on the history of the bridge, diagrams, maps and hundreds of photographs of the bridge during construction.

Tim, who is working on the Project as part of the Teesside University BOOST Summer Placements Programme, said: 'The Teesside Archives images provide a unique insight into bridge building history.

'The hundreds of photographs show the bridge at various stages and also include images of Rio, the iconic Guanabara Bay and many construction workers.

'It is fascinating to learn how two local firms played such a vital role in building the Rio-Niteroi Bridge which is one of the main links for fans visiting the World Cup in Rio and will feature on televisions broadcasts to millions across the globe.'

BOOST is a six-week programme which offers opportunities for first and second-year students at Teesside to develop their employability by providing access to high-quality work experience appropriate to the level of skills they have developed on their degree programmes.

A selection of the images will be available to view on the Transporter Bridge’s website, Facebook and Twitter pages, with plans in the long-term to work with Teesside Archives to catalogue, digitise and promote the unique bridge and engineering collection for use in education activities.

Tees Transporter Bridge Education, Learning and Events Officer Tosh Warwick said: 'From South Bank to Sydney and Ruswarp to Rio, the yet to be catalogued Cleveland Bridge Collection spans the world and is an important resource in understanding the central role the Tees Valley played in connecting communities across the world.

'We are absolutely delighted that through working with the staff at Teesside Archives and the Teesside University BOOST programme we are able to share a small selection of the material with the wider public.'

The ‘Bridging the World’ Exhibition featuring other Cleveland Bridge and Dorman Long structures across the world including Sydney Harbour Bridge continues at the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre alongside the Remembering Our War Exhibition (running until Sunday, June 22).

• For more information on the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project visit or follow the Facebook and Twitter pages.