The Humber Bridge’s chief executive Kevin Moore has insisted an ambitious £30m masterplan to turn the landmark into a “much better” attraction than San Fransisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is achievable, despite a previous scheme failing to get off the ground.
The latest plan, which aim to attract an extra 400,000 visitors a year, include the UK’s first musical road, a thrilling ride inspired by a wind turbine and a cradle-ride under the carriageways.
Phased in over ten to 12 years, they also include opening up the north anchorage for the first time, fitting an LED lighting scheme to the underneath of the bridge and opening a visitor centre.
The proposals come two years after East Riding councillors rejected plans for a spectacular glass lift ride to the top of the bridge, as part of a scheme including offices and a hotel, which would have cost around £25m.
But Dr Kevin Moore, formerly director of the National Football Museum in Manchester, said: “The lift was a great idea but it would have been a relatively short visit with one attraction, while what we are developing in time will be 12 to 15 attractions.
“We will become a day destination rather than for a couple of hours and there will always a reason to come back.”
Dr Moore said 50,000 cyclists and 200,000 pedestrians, along with 50,000 people who just come to take a look, already visit the bridge every year.
The masterplan, with its focus on leisure and learning, in particular inspiring future generations of engineers, should eventually increase that by another 400,000 visitors.
Funding will come from a variety of sources - but not from bridge tolls. Ongoing work will be paid for by revenue generated by the attraction.
He said: “Our mission is to create the best bridge experience in the world.
“In terms of bridge attractions the other is the Golden Gate in San Fransisco - what we create will be much better. The first thing people need to realise that it is a significantly longer and more beautiful bridge than the Golden Gate.
“We need to realise what a hidden gem we have. It is still the longest single span bridge that you can walk and cycle over.
Dr Moore said he understood why people would be sceptical about the plans, because as far back as the early 1980s there had been talk about making it more of a visitor attraction.
He said: “You can have a brilliant plan, but none of it works unless people want to come. That’s why it’s best not to spend it in one go - test the waters, market test, consult people.
“I think everything in the plan is achievable. We will start next summer and then it will grow.”
The masterplan envisages wider development which could take in the Country Park and Hessle and Barton foreshores and aims to generate up to £29m for the local economy over the 10-year development period. It does not include hotels or offices.
Chair of the Humber Bridge Board Coun David Watson said: “We are determined that the attraction will be self-funding and profitable from the start. Any part that does not meet this test will either not be developed or will be discounted.”
What is a musical road?
CONSTANT rumbling from noisy roads is nothing new to UK motorists - but a “musical” road will be. Other countries already have them.
The plan for the Humber Bridge is to fit its carriageways with musical rumble strips which will play a tune when a car drives over them.
For pedestrians, there will be tuned wind chimes and “melodic balustrades” for pedestrians and cyclists.
Japan is big on “melody roads” while a musical road in Lancaster, California is meant to replicate the sound of the William Tell Overture.
A stretch in Tijeras, Mexico, plays America the Beautiful.