Landmark to get '˜iconic' new visitor attraction

A 'unique' visitor attraction which will allow people to travel under the Humber Bridge and then rise to the top of a tower in a glass gondola could open by the end of next year.

Artist's impression of new Humber Bridge visitor attraction
Artist's impression of new Humber Bridge visitor attraction

The attraction, which includes a visitor centre and 60-bedroomed hotel, is being built to handle the same number of visitors who come to the Deep in Hull - some 400,000 a year.

Plans for the new “visitor experience”, a regional “legacy project” for City of Culture, which is being held in Hull next year, will be submitted to East Riding Council at the end of the month.

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Bridgemaster Peter Hill said: “The Humber Bridge was an iconic structure and we are bringing it back to the status of an icon again.”

Tickets would be cheaper than the London Eye - but “worth more”, he said.

The trip up the tower is expected to take half an hour and will involve people getting into a ski lift style capsule from the second floor of the visitor centre to travel under the bridge to the Hessle Tower.

People will get out onto a viewing platform and then ride in one of two smaller lifts to the first cross beams before transferring into a gondola, which can take 50 people.

It will then take passengers at “ a nice steady pace” to the top where people will disembark onto an enclosed viewing platform, with stunning views across into north Lincolnshire and down the estuary towards Hull.

“We are looking at making it somewhere where we could host events potentially such as weddings,” he added.

Real estate firm Colliers International is advising on the plans.

The cost of the project wasn’t available, but Mr Hill said it wouldn’t add to the price of bridge tolls - currently £1.50 one way.

The idea is people will start their visit to the region at the bridge, spend half a day there, the rest of the day in Hull, stay overnight in the hotel, then explore the rest of the region the following day.

Mr Hill said: “It isn’t specifically associated with City of Culture but obviously it is a regional legacy project - and if it does transpire we get it open in 2017 all the better.

“This project has accelerated forward at an intense rate. We only really started to think about this six months ago.

“We are going to planning at the end of this month and we are looking at getting it through in August or September and starting on site in October with a 12-month programme.”

The scheme will be funded using reserves, major maintenance funds, and income from a 60,000 sq ft office development, which is part of the scheme and is earmarked as a potential corporate headquarters.

Plans can be seen by members of the public from 9am to 1pm on Saturday at the Humber Bridge Viewing Area car park. People are being asked to give their feedback.

The 7,280 ft bridge was the longest in the world when it first opened to traffic on 24 June 1981. It is now the seventh-longest.

Once the most expensive toll crossing in the UK in 2012 a deal was struck with the Government to reduce the debt by £150m and it should now remain at £1.50 one way until the debt is repaid by 2025.

The car park is on Ferriby Road in Hessle and the public exhibition will be in the former café building near the tourist information centre.