Severn Bridge: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the Severn Bridge.

  • The Severn Bridge crosses the River Severn between Wales and southwest England. The 1.6 km bridge links north Bristol in England to Chepstow and Caldicot in South Wales.

  • The Queen opened the bridge in September, 1966. Until 1996, it carried the M4 motorway, until a second bridge was built nearby; today the M48 motorway crosses the bridge.
  • Thomas Telford, the engineer, first suggested a bridge across the Severn in 1824. The growth of road traffic during the 20th century led to the idea being revisited.
  • The longest span on the Severn Bridge measures almost 990 metres. The bridge has a height of 136 metres and the clearance from the road surface to the river below is 47 metres.
  • Ferries have been crossing the River Severn since as far back as the 12th century. When the Severn Bridge opened, it replaced the Aust Ferry, which had been in operation since 1926.
  • National Cycle Route 4 also crosses the Severn Bridge. The route runs from Greenwich in London to Fishguard in South Wales, and covers a distance of almost 700 km.
  • Drivers crossing the Severn Bridge only need to pay a toll to cross westbound, from England into Wales. Many people have jokingly described this as a tax to enter Wales.
  • The Severn Bridge took about five years to build, at a cost of 8 million pounds. A plaque on the bridge is dedicated to the men who died during its construction.
  • During the first few days after it opened, about 100,000 vehicles crossed the bridge. People stood in line and camped out for several days, to be the first to walk across it.
  • Today, an estimated 20,000 vehicles a day cross the Severn Bridge. As there is no protection against high winds, the bridge is closed when there are dangerously strong gusts.

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