Menai Suspension Bridge

po_Menai-BridgeThe Menai Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge between the island of Anglesey and the mainland of Wales. Designed by Thomas Telford and completed in 1826, it was the first modern suspension bridge in the world.

Construction of the bridge began in 1819 with the towers on either side of the strait. These were constructed from Penmon limestone and were hollow with internal cross-walls. Then came the sixteen huge chain cables, each made of 935 iron bars that support the 176-metre (577 ft) span. To avoid rusting between manufacture and use, the iron was soaked in linseed oil and later painted. The suspending power of the chains was calculated at 2,016 tons and the total weight of each chain was 121 tons. The bridge was opened to much fanfare on 30 January 1826 and reduced the journey time from London to Holyhead from 36 to 27 hours, a saving of 9 hours.

High fortress above the sea – the world drives
Its carriages across it;
And you, all you ships of the sea,
Pass beneath its chains.

—Dewi Wyn o Eifion