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Severn Bridge celebrates 50 years

severn bridge

A vintage car and bus rally last month marked the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Severn Bridge.

Celebrations also included a gathering of civil engineers who have worked on the bridge over the last five decades.

The results of a competition which tasked school children with designing a poster to mark the bridges 50th year were also announced.

Kenleys Day Nursery in Plymouth scooped a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition and Lego Duplo Deluxe Set in the five to seven years category. The same prize went to Castle Park Primary School in Cadicot, which won the seven to 11 year olds category.

Eleven to 14 year olds were asked to design an information board about the bridge’s 50 years. Harry Radford won an iPad Mini and will work with Severn Valley heritage body A Forgotten Landscape’s artist-in-residence to develop his board into a real life interpretation panel which will be on public display.

The Grade I listed Severn Bridge was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 1966. The bridge took three and a half years to complete and cost £8M. 

Traffic levels increased, and the original Severn Bridge became unable to cope with the congestion. Investigations on a second crossing commenced in 1986, with work starting on the M4 Second Severn Crossing in 1992. It was completed in 1996, with current ICE President Sir John Armitt playing a key role in its development and construction.

The 50th anniversary celebrations were led by the ICE South West and ICE Wales Cymru, with Armitt as guest of honour. 

The day was supported by Flint & Neill, CH2M and Arcadis, with American Bridge and A Forgotten Landscape donating the competition prizes. All of the organisations have been involved with the bridge at some point in its history.



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