Alexandra Dock Bridge spans a section of the A180 between Lockhill and Boulevard Avenue roundabout. A fairly unassuming bridge, this is the link between the upper River Freshney and the town centre, and Alexandra Dock, the Royal Dock, and the estuary. Due to its slight curvature and approach to Lockhill roundabout, along with its obscured view due to the position of The Range and yacht club, it is probably unusual for the general public to see the bridge from its side, as opposed to the top.
Alexandra Dock Bridge was created in 1983 as part of the extension to the Department of Transport’s A180, which was due to end “in a Pyewipe field” until the former Humberside County Council’s engineering department took control and designed the ‘West Marsh Relief Road’. The bridge came in £800,000 under budget due to innovative methods used on the vertical band drains, which ultimately eased pressure on the foundations. This in turn changed the design from a seven-span bridge to a three-span bridge by its completion.
Prior to the new “Westgate” A180 relief road, the route out of town via Gilbey Road took traffic over the historic Cleveland Bridge. The bridge, parts of which are now more than 115 years old, remains a thoroughfare for cyclists and pedestrians but vehicles ceased to cross the bridge when the relief road became operational. At time, the headmaster of nearby school Littlecoates, Mr Colin Kennedy, happy for its closure said: “It’s been like trying to run a school on the M1.”
Cleveland Bridge was built around the turn of the 20th Century, carrying the former Grimsby to Immingham tramway – the Clicketty – across the railway. As heavy traffic increased, the bridge – a main thoroughfare into town – was hampered by problems, and it was finally closed to vehicles in January, 1983. The newest and closest bridge to it in the current era is the Gilbey Road viaduct, a bridge carrying the A180 and all its traffic over the pedestrianised section of Gilbey Road, the railway, and a section of land used as storage for new car imports. The area is widely used by workers heading over to nearby estate roads and Humber bank businesses.
The section of A180 between the Pyewipe’s Westgate Roundabout and Lockhill was certainly a much-lauded piece of engineering. Crossing over a mile of spongy land, a railway, and a significant piece of dock was a difficult feat, but Humberside County Council staff were determined to provide a link for Grimsby and Cleethorpes residents to the national motorway system. It is a stretch of road that remains a vital part of the borough’s economy today.
Image provided by Lincs Inspire Library and Archive Service