The New Bridge – Construction History

As Britain recovered from World War II, increased road traffic led to chronic congestion of Rochester High Street. During the 1950s over 32,000 vehicles per day and at times 2,600 vehicles per hour crossed in two lanes over Rochester Bridge. Immediately downstream between the roadway bridge and the railway bridge stood a second railway bridge, built by The East Kent Railway Company in the 1850s but disused since the 1920s. In 1957, Bridge Engineer J. Kenneth Anderson proposed to reconstruct the disused railway bridge to form a second roadway bridge across the river.

This plan was supported by British Railways and by the Ministry of Transport who provided the new approach roads. Parliament approved the Rochester Bridge Act 1965, giving the Wardens and Assistants of Rochester Bridge the powers to acquire the necessary land and to duplicate the roadway bridge. Construction began in July 1967, and the new bridge was opened to traffic by HRH The Princess Margaret on 15 April 1970. Today, it carries the two lanes of eastward-bound traffic from Strood to Rochester.