About Us

Severn Bridges Trust

The Trust was established as a charity in 1999 to promote public education in the engineering, environmental and associated disciplines involved in the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the Severn Crossings. The Trustees all being Chartered Civil Engineers who have had close involvement in senior positions with the design, construction and maintenance of one or both of the two bridges.


The Trust’s objectives are:

  • To provide a permanent record of the many professions and disciplines involved in construction using as illustration the First Severn Bridge, the Second Severn Crossing, together with their associated Approach Roads, the Severn Tunnel and the former ferry crossings of the Estuary;
  • To promote the web site for the general public, schools, colleges and universities each side of the Estuary and the national and international engineering professions;
  • To explain to the general public the broad spectrum of engineering disciplines and other professions involved.

Visitor Centre

The Trust operated the Severn Bridges Visitor Centre. After opening in December 1998 it attracted thousands of visitors a year. It housed an exhibition showing the history of the river crossings using interactive displays, video films, pictures, models and descriptions until closure in 2008.

Why have you published this site?

This website offers a permanent public display for the exhibition material from the Visitors Centre, expanded with engineering detail for those who are interested. Our goal is to provide and share information on the background to the need for and the construction of the Severn Bridge, opened in 1966, the Second Severn Crossing, opened in 1996, and information on earlier crossings of the Estuary. It celebrates the broad spectrum of engineering disciplines and other professions involved, and the environmental and construction achievements of these two crossings.

When was it created?

The main story of the crossings presented on this site is taken from the exhibition materials created ready for the Visitors Centre opening in 1998.

In 2009, when funds for a new exhibition building in the M48 Service Area at Magor, which the Trust was contemplating using for its Exhibition, were withdrawn, the Trust chose to create a virtual exhibition instead. Then in 2012, they recognised that publishing a more detailed website might also attract engineering professionals and academics, and chose to add materials of deeper interest and more technical value. The very detailed papers available in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, that describe the works covered by the web site and which were written by the engineers who had been responsible for doing the work, helped the trustees greatly when writing about the engineering detail behind the main pages.

The web site was completed and published in 2016, to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Severn Bridge, and the 20th Anniversary of the completion of the Second Severn Crossing.

Who else has supported this effort?

The Trust has received financial support from sponsors across the construction industry, including consultants, contractors, suppliers, professional bodies, other trusts and from the Government Transport Departments.  The Trustees are most grateful for the support received from these many organisations in establishing the Trust and in supporting its work.  They are  particularly grateful to Stephen Jones for his agreement to the inclusion of material from his published books relating to earlier crossings of the estuary, and to Neil Thomas of Photographic Engineering Services for his agreement to the inclusion of a number of his excellent photographs that are to be found in the more detailed passages of the text that relate to the Second Crossing, which can be viewed using the appropriate “more information” links embedded in the Main Text.

The 12 minute video on the construction of the Second Road Crossing, which is located at the end of the penultimate  page of that chapter and entitled “Building the Second Bridge”, was made with financial support from the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation using original material made available to the Trust by the John Laing Trust and the British Film Institute. Copies of the DVD may be obtained at a cost of only £5 each, including postage and packing, by contacting stephen.jones@ice.org.uk

More information

First Page