The Rochester Bridge Trust is well under way with a major programme of investment in its assets in Rochester to create an attractive Bridge Heritage Quarter. The objective is to preserve and enhance the historic structures as well as encouraging visitors to explore the history of the bridges and their role in the foundation and prosperity of Rochester and Strood. The improvements will also help to enhance the two high streets and complement riverside developments on both sides of the River Medway.
In December 2020, the Trust completed a major refurbishment of its three bridges including extensive hidden structural repairs, maintenance and strengthening, as well as enhancements to the appearance and lighting of the bridges and Esplanades in its ownership. An improved public space has been created on Rochester Esplanade, with information about the bridges that have crossed the river over the centuries incorporated into the new seating. Enhancement lighting to the Old Bridge has provided an opportunity to celebrate key events. As always, the work to the Trust’s structures was completed at no cost to the public.
Internal renovations to the listed Bridge Chamber and scheduled ancient monument of the medieval Bridge Chapel will be completed by Autumn 2021. This will provide opportunities to open up more public access to the buildings, archives and other collections.
In time the Trust also plans further improvements to the buildings and structures in its ownership within the Bridge Heritage Quarter, which could include a new bridge learning centre for education about bridge engineering.