The start of visible works for the Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project is imminent, with the programme running in phases, beginning on the New Bridge. Which means now is the perfect opportunity to look more closely at this structure.
Carrying road traffic from Strood into Rochester, the New Bridge was officially opened by Princess Margaret on 15th April 1970, so it’s not far off its 50th birthday.
Above deck, the profile of the New Bridge is minimal, meaning it does a very good job of not disrupting the view of the Old Bridge. Below deck it is supported by twin steel box girders, which were installed during the reconstruction of a former railway bridge. Sandwiched between the Old Bridge and a working railway bridge, construction of this crossing was not simple.
Today, the New Bridge continues to present some interesting challenges, in particular in relation to how the structure is maintained. Unlike the Old Bridge, which is wholly owned by the Rochester Bridge Trust, the approach structures on both sides of the New Bridge are owned and maintained by Medway Council – it is only the parts spanning the river that are owned and maintained by the Trust.
In order to achieve a high quality – coherent – finish for the job we have been planning the works with Medway Council from the start, to make sure all parties are in agreement with the improvements being undertaken. To clarify, the decisions are made jointly and the respective organisations pay for the works to their own land: the Trust maintains its bridges at no cost to the public.
The works to the New Bridge include upgrades to the street lighting; improving the efficiency of the drainage system; extending the length of the right turn onto the Esplanade; replacing the plaques; and more. We will provide more updates about these and other tasks as the refurbishment progresses.
The Rochester Bridge Refurbishment Project will start on the New Bridge on Monday, 22nd April 2019. For information about the first stages of traffic management, click here.