Severn Bridge II 1996

Severn Bridge II 1996

© Eirlys Howard

The Bridge

Thirty years after the opening of the Severn Bridge a new bridge was constructed to the south-west to ease traffic congestion. The Second Severn Bridge now carries the London to Cardiff M4 motorway over the River Severn. It is 5km long with a 456m main-span cable-stayed bridge (known as the Shoots Bridge) and long approach viaducts.

Building a bridge with 51 piers in the wide river estuary with one of the world’s largest tidal flows (up to 14m) and strong currents, demanded the use of huge concrete foundations. These were precast at yards either isde of the span and transported to site on barges. In total 41 viaduct spans of 98m each, and 8 other connecting spans lead up to the cable-stayed bridge over the navigational channel.

It was opened by HRH Prince Charles on 5th June 1996.

Second Severn Crossing

Also known as the Prince of Wales Bridge

Key Facts

5km long bridge crossing

Structure uses 420,000 cubic metres of concrete


Monmouthshire (Wales) to Gloucestershire (England)

Across the River Severn




Maunsell & Partners

WS Atkins


Cable-stayed suspension bridge

456m main span

5,128m total length

Main contractors

GTM Construction

John Laing Construction


Began 26 April 1992

Opened 5 June 1996

Other long-span bridges