Every few years the Rochester Bridge Trust undertakes a bathymetric survey of the riverbed under Rochester Bridge. The survey employs a vessel-mounted sonar to detect the depth of the riverbed and check for any undermining of the bridge piers and foundations. The Port of London Authority (PLA) surveying team undertook the latest survey for the Trust between 3rd and 6th February in their vessel ‘Galloper’.
During the construction of the Victorian Rochester Bridge in the 1850s, site engineers reported locating the wooden foundations of a previous bridge. The Trust’s archive records indicate that these may have been the foundations to the original Roman bridge. Just under 100 years ago, the Victorian bridge was rebuilt and is now the Old Bridge. It is possible that parts of the Roman bridge lie under the footprint of the current structure.
In order to try to locate the Roman Bridge, the PLA was commissioned to undertake a more rigorous probe of the areas under the Old Bridge during their latest survey. The collected data has now been passed to Wessex Archaeology, who will use sophisticated computer analysis to try to identify any foundation structures and locate an important piece of the Trust’s heritage.
1. The Rochester Bridge Trust is a charitable trust that exists to maintain the old and new bridges at Rochester and serve the travelling public. It is the only surviving bridge trust still serving its original purpose, and it has served the people of Kent since 1399. The Trust also supports numerous community and education projects across historic Kent and Medway.
2. The Trust’s assets all derive from endowments of land and money in the 14th and 15th centuries and are carefully managed in order to provide an income to fund bridge maintenance and local charitable grants. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.
For more information:
The Rochester Bridge Trust
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125