media release

Queen Opens Unique Bridge

A unique bridge coated by products from Akzo Nobel’s International Protective Coatings business has been officially opened in the UK by Her Majesty the Queen.

The EUR 35 million Gateshead Millennium Bridge—the world’s only tilting bridge—was officially opened by the 76-year-old Queen as part of her Golden Jubilee tour of Britain.

Tens of thousands of people turned up on the day to watch her perform the ceremony, which took place eight months after the bridge was first opened to pedestrians and cyclists.

Rising 50 meters above the River Tyne, the bridge—known as the winking eye—opens and closes like a giant eyelid. It weighs 850 tons, takes four minutes to open fully to allow river traffic to pass underneath and has been covered with 12,500 liters of International® paint products.

The coating system selected to protect the steel structure was Interzone 505, a glass flake epoxy coating, and Interthane 990, an acrylic polyurethane topcoat. During the day, the bridge appears white with a hint of blue, but at night it is transformed by a state-of-the-art lighting system which creates multi-colored lighting effects.

Built to provide a pedestrian link between Gateshead and Newcastle, it is the first opening bridge to be built over the Tyne for more than 100 years.

Bridge enthusiasts might also be interested to learn that International products were also used to protect a much larger European construction.

Around 450,000 liters of anti-corrosive paint were used on the 16-kilometer long Oresund Bridge in Scandinavia. Opened in 2000, the elevated road and rail link runs between Sweden and Denmark.

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