Bridge over the River Medway
by Marco Cillario Fri 16 September 2016, 12:56 pm
A new bridge over the River Medway at Halling and Wouldham is now operational, the first such structure ever to connect the two sides of the river.
Lord Lieutenant of Kent, the Viscount De L’Isle MBE, cut a ribbon at the centre of the new £18.9 million bridge yesterday (15 September). It is part of a 1,000-home scheme for a 98-ha former cement works site, called Peters Village.
Roads and other infrastructure, including a crossing of the rail line on the west bank, are also provided around the bridge, at a total cost of £50 million.
It is the first time the two banks are linked at this point by a permanent structure: before yesterday, only a foot ferry and a military bridge temporarily erected during world war two ever connected the villages of Wouldham, Burham and Eccles on the east bank to Halling on the west.
The scheme, developed by Trenport, also includes a village centre with shops, a medical centre and pharmacy, a school, a village hall and playing fields.
The project was granted permission in 2006, but was then put on hold due to the recession. Thanks to a £19.5 million grant from the Homes and Communities Agency Local Infrastructure Fund, work began in May 2014, with housebuilding starting in 2016. Completion is expected by 2022.
“The bridge was the key,” said Trenport director Chris Hall, “making it all the more astonishing that this stretch of the Medway has never had a proper crossing.
“Peters Village represents the next step in a vision for the re-use of redundant Medway Valley cement works first laid out in local plans from the mid-1980s, and the new bridge now opens up possibilities for the next stage at nearby Bushey Wood.”