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Wye Bridge and Viaduct
Rvers Severn and Wye, Beachley, Gloucestershire, UK
associated engineer
Mott Hay & Anderson
Freeman Fox & Partners
date  July 1963 - 8th September 1966, 1985 - 1991
UK era  Modern  |  category  Bridge  |  reference  ST549908
The Wye Bridge and Viaduct are smaller structures in the crossing that now carries the M48 motorway over the Rivers Wye and Severn. They were built originally to take the M4 motorway, which now runs over the Second Severn Crossing opened in 1996.
Both bridge and viaduct are made of steel with reinforced concrete piers. The road deck is a continuous steel box girder 14.6m wide.
Located at the Welsh end of the crossing, the Wye Bridge is a cable-stayed cantilever design. Its main span measures 234.7m, with two side spans of 86.9m. It has a clearance of 15.8m above high water level. The two towers are 28.8m tall. On the west side of the bridge, there is a 128m long two-span approach viaduct connecting the motorway to the crossing.
The ten span Wye Viaduct is 616.6m long and joins the Wye Bridge to the Severn Road Bridge, taking the whole crossing across the Beachley Peninsula.
The bridge, viaduct and Severn Road Bridge all form the first Severn Crossing, which was opened by HM Queen Elizabeth II on the 8th September 1966, replacing the ferry from Aust Cliff to Beachley Peninsula.
The structures were designed to withstand winds of 161km/h (100mph). On completion they contained some 8,800 tonnes of steel and 9,600 cubic metres of concrete. The total cost was £1.9 million.
Extensive repairs and improvements were undertaken between 1985 and 1991. The bridge's original single-stay cabling was replaced by a twin-stay system. The towers were extended and strengthened to support the new cabling. The steel deck was resurfaced with asphalt to distribute vehicle loading.
Contractor: Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Co Ltd
Contractor: Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co Ltd
Structural appraisal (1982): Flint & Neill
Research: ECPK
b i b i o g r a p h y
reference sources   CEH W&W

Wye Bridge and Viaduct