AFTER one last delay, the operation to lift the world's first rotating bridge on to its base on the River Tyne is finally expected to go ahead this morning.

The £22m Gateshead Millennium Bridge was lifted from its construction site at Amec Hadrian Yard, in Wallsend, yesterday, and was due to begin its six-mile journey up the Tyne at 8am today.

The complex procedure had been postponed due to bad weather, which gave more problems again at the weekend, causing a 24-hour delay.

The huge crane, which will have just two-and-a-half-metres clearance from both riverbanks during its journey, was expected to arrive at the Gateshead Quayside at about 10.45am.

It will span the River Tyne to create a pedestrian and cycling link between the £250m Gateshead Quays and neighbouring Newcastle's quayside.

The bridge comprises two arches, one of which is a curved deck supported by 18 rods.

It will rest at an angle of 17 degrees to help wind resistance. And to let ships pass underneath, the bridge will pivot on two concrete islands on either side of the river. The entire structure will rotate around a horizontal axis, appearing as an eye slowly opening.

The top curve of the innovative bridge will reach 50m above the river and the structure will sit on concrete foundations that go 10m down on to the river bed.

It will be positioned just a few hundred yards downstream of the Tyne Bridge