Tinsley Viaduct 1968

Tinsley Viaduct 1968

© B2 Archive

The Bridge

The two-level Tinsley Viaduct carries the M1 motorway and a main road over the heavily developed Don Valley. It was the first steel structure in Britain to have road traffic on two levels.

The 1,036m long viaduct has the six-lane M1 motorway on the top deck, with the four-lane A631 road and services (gas, electricity and water) on the lower deck.

The decks are of continuous composite construction. A prestressed reinforced concrete slab 215mm thick is supported by two main longitudinal steel box girders, with transverse cross girders and cantilevers at approximately 3m centres. The structural steel has an especially high anti-corrosion specification.

Tinsley Viaduct

A two-level box girder viaduct

Key Facts

Two-tier road bridge

Carries the M1 motorway on the upper deck

Industry continued unabated during the construction period


Sheffield, England

Across the River Don

Consulting Engineers

Freeman Fox & Partners


Twin-deck box girder bridge

1,036m total length

Main contractors

Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company


Began in 1965

Lower deck opened 25 March 1968

Upper deck opened 19 October 1968

The first two-deck steel viaduct

Dr William Brown was Principal Designer at Freeman Fox & Partners in the 1960s.

One of the bridge projects he worked on with the design team was the Tinsley Viaduct with 20 simply-supported spans up to 49.7m long, and two end spans. The spans over the Don Valley are carried on 17 pairs of high tensile steel box columns. Each has a rocker support to accommodate thermal movement and subsidence, with a jacking facility to rectify any settlement. The 17 piers and four abutments are of reinforced concrete, founded at depths of 4.6 to 9.1m.

Other long-span bridges