Worlds Greatest Bridges: Series 1
Documentary series presented by engineer Rob Bell, exploring the history and construction of the world’s most iconic bridges.
Part 1: Golden Gate Bridge
Rob visits San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and meets the people who keep it operational, as well as discovering the fascinating history of a bridge that many claimed was impossible to build.
Part 2: Sydney Harbour Bridge
Known locally as ‘the Coathanger’, Sydney Harbour Bridge is the world’s tallest and widest steel arched bridge. Connecting the northern suburbs with the city centre, it brought together a city divided not just by water but by cultural differences. Rob explores the story of this engineering masterpiece, whose builders utilised the very latest technologies and techniques of their time, but which came at a cost.
Part 3: The Iron Bridge Shropshire
A symbol of the Industrial Revolution, the elegant Iron Bridge over the river Severn in rural Shropshire was the world’s first bridge to be constructed entirely from iron. Rob reveals the difficulties encountered in building it, the scepticism of contemporary engineers, how it inspired Thomas Telford to design the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and the bridge’s role as a catalyst for the birth of a civil engineering.
Part 4: The Brooklyn Bridge
Rob Bell explores the history and construction of the world’s most iconic bridges. Spanning New York’s East River, the Brooklyn Bridge connecting Brooklyn and Manhattan was the world’s longest suspension bridge when opened in 1883. Rob Bell tells the story of its construction – a classic New York tale of big money, corruption, ambition, death and tragedy. It is also the saga of two men and one woman – father, son and the son’s wife – who realised a dream against all the odds.
Part 5: The Millau Viaduct
Rob Bell explores the story and construction of the world’s most iconic bridges. The Millau Viaduct over the Tarn gorge in southern France is the world’s tallest bridge and considered by many to be the world’s most beautiful. Rob meets the design team, including architect Lord Norman Foster and structural engineer Dr Michel Virlogeux, and learns about the innovative and ancient techniques used to build it. London’s Millennium Bridge, Lord Foster’s other project at the time, is also featured, including what caused the wobble and how it was rectified.
Part 6: The Severn Bridge
Rob Bell explores the history and construction of the world’s iconic bridges. Opened in 1966, the Severn Bridge was the first road bridge to connect England and South Wales by spanning the vast Severn estuary. Rob reveals why its design by Dr Bill Brown revolutionised the way that modern suspension bridges are built. He also surfs the Severn Bore and meets the construction workers who braved the wave and tidal ranges of up to 50 feet in order to build it.