The waiting is over.

Three years in the making - and much longer in development - York's new Millennium Bridge finally glided majestically into place over the River Ouse today.

An army of proud engineers, designers and construction workers rubbed shoulders with spectators to watch the giant, elegant structure being inched out on to the water before being pinned in place.

The waters of the Ouse had subsided enough to let this second attempt at a launch go ahead after last Wednesday's planned spectacular had to be postponed because of heavy rain.

During a 30-hour river closure, winch wires were being secured to both banks of the river and used to tow the floating pontoon on which the bridge rested.

Long before spectators gathered on the south bank to watch the event, Gary Thornton, contracts manager for main contractor Spencer's, said proudly: "It's been a brilliant structure to be involved with. It's pushed the boundaries of engineering and it looks fantastic.

"The conditions are top notch today. We are hoping that the Millennium curse doesn't get us like it has with the Millennium Dome and the Millennium Bridge in London."

Joining Gary was the managing director of the company which fabricated the slender materials which go to make the bridge such an elegant structure.

Derek Dickinson, managing director of Meldan, based in Barton-on-Humber, said: "I've been involved with the construction of the bridge all the time and now we have finished and it's done.

"It's nice to see it finished and up on the floats. With it being in so many sections, it's amazing how flawless all our welding joints are. People won't realise there are joints every 12 metres of the giant arc of the bridge."

By the end of the afternoon it was hoped that the bridge would have inched its way to the slanted pier on which the south side of the bridge will rest.

Jacking rams will retract and the crane will lower the bridge into its permanent position, ready for thousands of pedestrians and cyclists to start using it as of next month.

York MP Hugh Bayley said: "This is the moment I've been waiting for for ten years. It was before I was an MP when York cyclists first put the idea of a cycling and footpath to me and it's terrific that the idea has become a reality.

"Thanks to the work of all its backers and sponsors it will make a real difference to York, especially to walkers and cyclists south of the city centre."