Menai Bridge 1826

Menai Bridge 1826

© Gail Johnson

Menai Bridge

The world's first major suspension bridge

Key Facts

Two-lane road bridge

The world’s longest bridge span on completion


Anglesey, Wales

Across the Menai Strait

Designers / Engineers

Thomas Telford


Suspension bridge

176m main span

417m total length

Main contractors

Dorman, Long and Co. Ltd.

William Hazledine


Began in 1818

Opened 30 January 1826

The Bridge

Thomas Telford designed and built all types of infrastructure; from churches to castles, canals to harbours, tunnels to roads and bridges. The Menai Bridge was probably Telford’s most acclaimed achievement. It was the first iron suspension bridge of its kind in the world and it established the potential of suspension bridge technology to achieve both long and high spans. Telford designed the central span of the roadway, 176m long and 30m above water level, to be carried by 16 wrought-iron chains, each made of 935 iron bars (since replaced by steel chains).

The bridge was a massive improvement in communication, not only for the people travelling to Ireland via Holyhead, but also for the locals. For the first time, they could cross with their livestock to and from the mainland without fear of perishing in the fast-flowing, dangerous waters of the Menai Strait.

Other long-span bridges