Sheppey Crossing
The Sheppey Crossing is a four-lane road bridge which crosses The Swale at a height of 35m (115 ft), linking the Isle of Sheppey with the mainland. It was opened on July 3, 2006 by Minister for Transport, Stephen Ladyman and provides an alternative to the old Kingsferry Bridge for road users. It was announced police have borrowed £73,000 from Swale Council to place an order for an automatic number plate recognition system (ANPR), which will be installed on both the Sheppey Crossing and the Kingsferry Bridge by the middle of April 2010.

The need for a new crossing
The existing bridge, which has been in place since 1959, suffered from two major drawbacks. Firstly, it only has one lane in each direction and as traffic to and from the island has increased it has started to become something of a bottleneck . Secondly, the bridge needs to be lifted to allow marine traffic to pass under it. This process often leads to long traffic delays. It is estimated that 26,000 vehicles a day will use the new crossing

Construction of the Sheppey Crossing
The bridge was designed by Cass Hayward and Capita Symonds, and won the 2006 IStructE Award for Transportation Structures. It has been built from steel and concrete, with around 10,000 tonnes of British Steel being used. Construction, which was carried out by Carillion under a Private Finance Initiative contract, was made more difficult because many of the bridge's piers had to be built on marshland. A jacking mechanism was employed to move the sections of roadway into position from each end of the bridge, with the final two sections of deck (piers 7-8 and piers 15-17) lifted into place during November 2005. The new crossing measures 21.5m (71 ft) in width, and carries the a section on the now-widened A249 road which links the M20 and M2 motorways with Sheerness. The Sheppey Crossing is not open to pedestrians, cycles or horses, which will continue to use the Kingsferry Bridge for the foreseeable future. The Sittingbourne to Sheerness section of railway will also use the Kingsferry Bridge.

Naming competition
A competition was announced to name the new bridge, won by lifelong Sheppey resident Mr. Reginald Grimwade, who was invited to attend the opening ceremony and to be presented with an award by Dr Ladyman .


2 photos