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Severn Bridge (Pont Hafren)

Severn Bridge (Pont Hafren)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: May 11, 2018

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Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
M48 Over River Severn (Afon Hafren) and River Wye (Afon Gwy)
Rural: South West, England and Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy), Wales (Cymru): United Kingdom
Structure Type
Metal Wire Cable Suspension, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal Wire Cable Cable-Stayed, Fixed
Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
3,239.8 Feet (987.5 Meters)
Structure Length
5,227.2 Feet (1593.3 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
3 Main Span(s)
Inventory Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

This bridge is one of the major suspension bridges in the United Kingdom. The bridge also includes a cable-stayed portion over River Wye.

HistoricBridges.org currently only has a few on-bridge photos for this bridge.

Official Heritage Listing Information and Findings

Listed At: Grade I


List Entry Number: 1119760

Includes: Severn Bridge and Aust Viaduct, First Severn Crossing, M48 Motorway Beachley, Tidenham.

Motorway bridge over River Severn and its eastern approach viaduct. 1961-1966. Freeman Fox and Partners in association with Mott, Hay and Anderson, consulting architect Sir Percy Thomas. Bridge has steel cables, deck and towers, concrete substructure and foundation (cable anchorages and piers for towers); viaduct structure steel with concrete deck slab. Suspension bridge (spans 305m - 987.5m - 305m) with aerodynamically shaped deck and inclined hangers; first bridge in the world to be built with these features. Viaduct 156.5m long, has three spans consisting of two box girders acting compositely with concrete slab. Part of the First Severn Crossing for the M48 (formerly M4), consisting of Aust Viaduct, Severn Bridge and Wye Viaduct (qv). Strengthened and refurbished 1985-91 without seriously changing appearance. Bridge recently repainted white to reduce thermal stress (not original colour, but successful).

This is the first bridge in the world to use the revolutionary concept of the streamlined deck and inclined hangers, and was an early example of a fully welded steel deck. It was by far the longest span in England when it was built.

Wye Bridge:

Motorway bridge over Wye estuary, and viaduct over Beachley peninsula. 1966 by Freeman Fox and Partners in association with Mott Hay and Anderson; Sir Percy Thomas consulting architect. Streamlined all-welded steel deck, steel pylons, concrete piers and foundations, steel cables. Overall length of 543 metres.

The Wye Bridge is a 408 metres cable-stayed bridge crossing the River Wye. Two pylons in central reservation, originally one cable each side of each pylon. Strengthened in 1987 (Flint and Neill): pylons increased in height and cable arrangement changed, doubling the number of cables. This has changed the appearance of the cable stayed bridge, but the general character has been maintained.

The Beachley Viaduct, 744 metres long with streamlined all-welded steel deck supported on concrete piers.

Both these bridges form part of a group with the Severn Bridge and has similar but not identical aerodynamically shaped deck of similar historical value. It includes probably the first post-war cable-stayed bridge in England (and Wales). With the Severn Bridge it was the first bridge in the world to have an aerodynamically shaped deck. It is also one of the earliest bridges of its type anywhere to use cables in only a single plane. The western end of the bridge is in Wales.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Severn Bridge (Pont Hafren)


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