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Queen Elizabeth II Bridge
River Thames, Purfleet (Essex) to Dartford (Kent), UK
Queen Elizabeth II Bridge
associated engineer
Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Co.
Helmut Homberg
Trafalgar House Technology
date  August 1988 - October 1991
UK era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  TQ569766
ICE reference number  HEW 1917
photo  Paul Cliff
This impressive bridge was the longest cable-stayed span in Europe at time of its construction. It represents an important advance in bridge technology, and is a component of the Dartford Crossing, which includes two tunnels.
The structure has an overall length of 2.87km and carries four lanes of southbound traffic on the 9km link between the ends of the M25 London Orbital motorway. Northbound traffic travels through the twin tunnels on the bridge's west side.
The cable-stayed deck is carried by two pairs of steel and concrete masts 84m tall, which are founded on 53m high concrete piers below it. The deck, designed by German engineer Helmut Homberg, is a composite of structural reinforced concrete over steel, supported longitudinally by steel plate girders. Fifty-six pairs of cables do the supporting work. There is a minimum clearance of 57.5m above high water.
The deck is 812m long, 450m of it spanning the river with 181m long backspans. On the Essex (north) side, a 1.52km viaduct section connects the bridge directly with the road system. On the Kent (south) side, a 1km viaduct links the bridge with the toll plaza. Viaduct sections extend north and south, 1.05km on the Essex side and long on the connecting the bridge with the road system.
The two reinforced concrete caissons, which support the river piers, were constructed in the Netherlands and towed across the North Sea before being sunk into place. Each caisson weighs 85,000 tonnes and is designed to withstand the impact of a 65,000 tonne vessel travelling at 18.5km per hour.
The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge was the first highway scheme in the UK constructed under the Department of Transportís design, finance, build, operate and transfer (DFBOT) principle. The project was managed by the Secretary of State for Transport's agent Mott MacDonald. The main contractor was Cementation Cleveland Dartford Consortium ó a joint venture between Kvaerner Construction Limited, Cleveland Bridge Co. and Cementation Construction.
The bridge was officially opened by HM the Queen in October 1991. More than 200,000 vehicles use the Dartford Crossing every day (2009). Charges apply daily at certain times, with various discounts available.
Contractor: Cementation Cleveland Dartford Consortium
Mast foundations: Cementation Construction
Caisson formwork: VSL International
Cable-stay steel supply: Bridon International
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH E&C

Queen Elizabeth II Bridge