Institution celebrates 50 years of the Severn Bridge

On Thursday 8 September the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) South West and Wales Cymru helped celebrate 50 years of the Severn Bridge with a vintage car rally and party overlooking the iconic bridge, which was opened by her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September 1966.

The day began with a vintage car rally led by two vintage buses, both of which were part of the original fleet of buses used on the route across the bridge. The buses carrier year 3 students and teachers from Offas Mead Academy in Sedbury, who embraced the opportunity to learn about the bridge and all the vintage cars that took part.

With the barrier raised on the bridge, the buses and over 40 vintage cars drove across waving anniversary flags to celebrate 50 years its opening. The procession then drove through Chepstow and on to the Beachley peninsula before assembling in the car park of the Old Ferry Inn, which boasts a spectacular view of the bridge.

In the afternoon ICE South West and Wales Cymru hosted a special event, which brought together engineers from throughout the history of the bridge, including even before construction! It was an opportunity for past colleagues to meet and share stories from their time on the bridge and talk about why it is such an important part of their lives.

The institution was also lucky to have the winner of the information board design competition in attendance. Harry Radford from Court Fields School in Wellington, was presented with his prize of an iPad by Sir John Armitt, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers who attended the day as the special guest.

ICE President, Sir John Armitt, said: "It is a pleasure to see the anniversary of this iconic structure celebrated by members of the public many of whom were there when it opened 50 years ago, some of the engineers who have helped to construct or maintain the bridge over the decades, and importantly by the younger generation.

"The posters designed by school children to mark the Severn Bridge's half century are inspiring – they bring to life the beauty of the bridge, and the important role bridges play in connecting people and communities all over the world."

All of this was made possible by some fantastic organisations who are involved with the bridge including Flint & Neill Ltd, American Bridge, CH2M, Arcadis and A forgotten Landscape.

South West and Wales Cymru media really embraced the event with coverage on regional television, radio, newspapers and online outlets. The hashtag #SevernBridge50 which we set up during the lead-up to the events even trended on Twitter!

Thank you to all those who took part and helped us show how important civil engineering really is.

Photos by Charlotte Pascoe, David Bateman and GH Photography
Photos by Charlotte Pascoe, David Bateman and GH Photography
Photos by Charlotte Pascoe, John Burrows and GH Photography
Photos by Charlotte Pascoe, John Burrows and GH Photography
 
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