This suspension bridge has the north tower sited on the high water line and the south tower founded in shallow water 500 metres from the shore. On the north bank at Hessle the side span is 280 metres
long with the anchorage on higher ground just north of the Hull - Doncaster railway line. The southern side span, 300 metres west of Barton Haven, is 530 metres long with the anchorage about 30
On the north bank, a hard well-jointed bed of chalk comes near to the surface and is covered by a tough layer of glacially deposited chalky boulder clay. The anchorage and tower has taken advantage of the chalk for good foundations and also the boulder clay has been used to the best advantage as the basis for the approach road embankment and the toll plaza area.
The areas on the south side where both the tower and anchorage are situated, soft alluvium is underlain by beds of boulder clay, sand and gravel. At 30 metres depth, below these beds there is a deep bed of stiff, heavily fissured kimmeridge clay on which the tower and anchorage have been founded.
The anchorages are massive concrete structures each having two chambers in which the main cables splay out into separate strands. At the splay position, the cables are supported by steel saddles mounted on top of reinforced concrete pillars. The ends of the main cable strands are attached to steel cross-head slabs at the face of anchor blocks by strand shoes and anchor bolts. The crosshead slabs are pre-stressed against the face of the anchor block by high tensile bars anchored at the rear. The anchorages also support the ends of the side spans. Hessle Anchorage is situated on the line of the bridge about 280 metres north of the high water mark. It is 65.5 metres long x 39 metres wide and founded in the hard chalk at a depth of 21 metres below ground level. Barton Anchorage is sited 30 metres behind the river flood Bund above ground, it is similar to Hessle anchorage but the foundation is cellular,72 metres long by about 40 metres wide filled with sand and water and constructed within a framework of diaphragm walls which reach 35 metres below ground level into Kimmeridge clay. This anchorage has been designed to give an approximately uniform bearing pressure under all conditions of cable pull. Certain parts above ground level - the mass concrete infill, the architectura ribs on the anchorage and the deck slab - were not therefore cast until cable spinning was complete. Subsequently the mass concrete infill was added while the box sections for the deck were being erected.
The piers are reinforced concrete structures which support the towers. Hessle Pier is situated on the high water mark. It is a reinforced concrete structure 44 metres wide x 16 metres long x 11.5 metres high and founded in hard chalk at a depth of about 8 metres below the ground level. Barton Pier is located in the river about 500 metres from the south bank. It comprises a reinforced concrete structure 16 metres thick supported on twin hollow circular cassions each about 24 metres in diameter sunk by underwater excavation and founded in Kimmeridge Clay about 36 metres below river bed level. Although heavily ballasted during construction, the caissons have been left empty in the final condition.
The deck structure is suspended from the main cables by inclined high tensile steel wire strands of about 62 mm in diameter. They are inclined so as to be capable of transmitting horizonal forces between the deck and the main cables and, by absorbing energy, assist in damping oscillations that might otherwise be induced under certain wind-loading conditions.
Each tower consists of two tapered vertical reinforced concrete legs braced together with four reinforced concrete horizontal beams. The beams built by slip-forming, are hollow columns 155 metres high and vary from 6 metres x 6 metres at the base to 4.5 metres x 4.75 metres at the top. The inside faces of the legs are vertical and 18.4 metres apart.There is an electric lift in one leg of each tower for maintenance use. At deck level a reinforces concrete platform is cantilevered out on three sides of each leg to form the link between the main and side span footways.
Each cable comprises 14,948 parallel galvanised drawn wires which, for the purpose of erection and anchorage , were divided into 37 strands. In addition, on the Hessle side span , there are a further 800 wires in each cable divided into 4 strands held by strand shoes both at the anchorage and at the tower saddles. With spinning and adjustment of the strands completed, the cables were compacted into a circular shape. After the complete suspended structure had been erected , the cables were coated with red lead paste, wrapped with soft steel galvanised wire and painted.
The suspended structure consists of stiffened steel plate panels welded together to form a hollow box section 22 metres wide and 4.5 metres deep, with 3 metre wide panels cantilevering from each side. To maintain the shape of the section, and to form cross-girder webs, transverse
diaphragms are fitted at 4.525 metre centres. The upper flange of the box forms the carriageways and the cantilever panels the footways and cycle tracks.The connections for the hangers are provided
by brackets welded to the edge of the box of intervals around 18.1 metres.
At each tower and anchorage the deck is supported by two A-frame rockers. The rockers transmit both vertical and lateral loads while permitting longitudinal movement, vertical rotation and a small amount of lateral rotation of the deck. The upper edge of each rocker is pinned to a bracket on the end diaphragm of the box and the two lower ends to either the lower tower portal or to the front of the anchorage. Expansion joints in the carriageway at each tower are of the rolling leaf type and between the side span and the abutment, of the compressible rubber type. Along both sides of each carriageway there are crash barriers consisting of four tensioned wire strands carried on posts at 4.525 centre and anchored at each abutment and the towers. A tube type parapet, 1.16 metres high, runs along the outside edge of each footway. The carriageways are surfaced with a 38mm thickness of mastic asphalt and the footways with a double dressing of rubber bitumen and 3mm chippings.
Four maintenance gantries give access beneath the bridge deck. The streamlined shape makes the deck aerodynamically stable and greatly reduces wind loads on the bridge.
The bridge and its associated bridges and highway form an extension of the A15(T) road with links to the A63/M62 on the north bank and A180/M180 on the south. Links are also provided to Beverley at the northern end of the bridge and Scunthorpe to the south-west.
There are extensive car, coach and lorry parking areas and toll plaza sited on the northern end of the bridge. Aircraft warning lights are fitted on the
towers and for river traffic there are navigation lights fitted to the underside of the bridge deck. Emergency telephones and matrix signs are located along the bridge and early warning signs are
provided on the approaches to the bridge. The Humber Bridge country park is situated on the north side in what used to be a chalk quarry until it closed in 1960 and it has been developed into an area
of natural beauty. There are many trails to explore within the park and a play area on the foreshore.
There is also a Tourist Information Centre, Cafeteria and public toilets. On the South side there is a parking area and a viewing site with amenities.