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This Christmas - discover the Severn Bridges

THE NEW Severn Bridges visitors' centre should be open in time for the Christmas holidays, following the signing this week of an agreement setting up a trust to manage the project.

The aim of the trust is to create a permanent centre adjacent to the Second Severn Crossing with an exhibition including interactive video displays and live links to cameras on both Severn Bridges.

'We are constantly trying to promote the profession,' said Welsh Office director of highways Keith Thomas. 'This will provide a focus.' Maunsell chief executive Peter Head and Thomas founded the trust with Construction Clients' Forum chairman Terry Rochester, Claire Curtis-Thomas MP, and the South Gloucestershire Tourism Association.

Some pounds120,000 is needed to open the centre. However, so far only pounds50,500 is committed with a further pounds14,000 promised. Rochester reported that there had been substantial local

interest, but that 'support from industry is not exactly rapturous'.

Major sponsors (pounds10,000) are Laing, Dumez GTM and Maunsell; sponsors (pounds5,000) are

Civil Marine Slag Cement, PSC Freyssinet, WS Atkins and Flint & Neill; the Institution of Structural Engineers is a con tributor (pounds2,000); and supporters (in kind) are the Highways Agency, Welsh Office and NCE.

Mike Winney

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