THE launch date for York's new Millennium Bridge has been set for next Wednesday.

Crowds of spectators are expected to flock to see the elegant arc structure being floated out across the Ouse before being fixed in place.

The bridge, inspired by the simple design of a bicycle wheel, currently on the river bank near Rowntree Park, will be transferred to a floating pontoon on Wednesday morning - weather and river levels permitting.

Contractors and the Millennium Bridge Trust have issued a few safety tips for those wanting to witness the historic launch:

* Those in boats should not try to take their craft close to the bridge. British Waterways will be patrolling the closed-off section

* Work areas on both sides of the river will be fenced off for the security of workers and spectators

* The best way to the site is on foot or by bicycle and the best viewpoints will be in a special enclosure at the bottom of Rowntree Park, or on the open space south of the bridge site at Butcher Terrace.

At this stage contractors cannot give a specific time for the launch, as weather and river conditions can't be predicted.

The launch is not the official opening and the public will not be able to start using the bridge until at least November.

For technical background on the bridge take a look at the website: