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Trust Commissions Inspection of Historic River Walls

The Rochester Bridge Trust has commissioned a major inspection of, and repairs to, its historic river embankments.

As tides permit, a team of specialists will use a large underbridge unit with a work platform on a telescopic arm reaching over the side of the river wall and down to the riverbed level. They will remove seaweed and water deposits, and identify and repair any structural defects in the Grade 2 listed masonry.

More than 500 square metres of masonry alongside the River Medway will be inspected. The work is expected to take up to three months. It will cover a 100-metre stretch of embankment upstream of the Old Bridge at Esplanade, Rochester, and a further 10 metres on the Strood side of the bridge.

There will be temporary closures of a section of the footway at Rochester Esplanade. Some Esplanade riverside parking bays will be inaccessible or suspended as required during the works.

Tim Belcher-Whyte of Hyder Consulting, Bridge Engineer to the Rochester Bridge Trust, is heading the £170,000 project.

He said: “Much of the embankment on the Rochester side of the River Medway is Portland Stone – the lower levels are approximately 150 years old with additions made 100 years ago when the Old Bridge was reconstructed. The Strood embankment is predominantly brick and wood.

“It is very time consuming work. All scraping is done by hand with a trowel. The masonry will be washed down with water pumped from the river.

“We expect the majority of repairs to be re-pointing with traditional lime mortars. We will use heritage bricks for any replacements required on the Strood side.”

Sue Threader, Bridge Clerk, said: “Inspection and repair of our embankments are just part of the Rochester Bridge Trust’s ongoing programme of works conserving the historic fabric of our bridges and our property.”


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
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706
Fax: 01634 840125

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