The Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 to replace the ferry service crossing from Aust to Beachley. The new bridge provided a direct link for the M4 motorway into Wales and it has now carried more than 300,000,000 vehicles since it was opened. Over the years traffic flow increased and the bridge acted as a bottle-neck at the tolls. The problems were made worse by the occasional high winds, and the bridge still closes today in these conditions. It is for these reasons that the Second Severn Crossing was constructed and opened in 1996.
The bridge celebrated it's 40th anniversary last year and is very much a part of the history of the South West. I more often use the Second Severn Crossing these days which now carries the M4 (the original Severn Bridge carries the M48 motorway). Either way, these bridges are a vital link between England and Wales for the South West and they mean that traffic from this area do not have to detour around the estuary. If this were the case then I would not have gone to some of the places I have shown you as the journey would be too long so this is why it is important to me. I'll finish by sharing an ode written about the bridge by the Anglo-Welsh poet Harri Webb:
- Two lands at last connected
- Across the waters wide,
- And all the tolls collected
- On the English side.