October 18th, 2007

Wanaka tree

The Second Severn Crossing

In 1967 the Severn Bridge was opened. It took the M4, the motorway from London and the south-east across the Severn estuary into South Wales. In the early 1990s it became very obvious that it couldn't cope with all the traffic that was using it and a second bridge was built. It was opened in 1996. I have a long and deep attachment to the Second Severn Crossing. So many civil engineering projects are ugly, functional or just crap, but I see this bridge as a thing of beauty. I have used it many times and would dearly love to have all the toll money I have spent on it over the years refunded. I'm sure it would be enough to get me around the world. But even that doesn't stop me admiring this bridge. 
The strange thing is that I have only ever seen it from on the bridge itself, or in the far distance, and once or twice from above. Last week-end I went to the little village of Severn Beach to take photos of the bridge from below and from close by. 
For the statistically minded, the bridge is a little over five kilometres long. It has to cope with quite a lot because, although the tide was out when I visited it, the Severn estuary has the third highest tidal reach in the world and it can take quite a pounding when the wind is blowing from the west straight up the Bristol Channel.

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