Kingsferry Bridge Repairs

9th April 2024
Paul Brooks

Network Rail are carrying out repairs to the iconic Kingsferry Bridge, replacing the 40 steel ropes which lift the bridge for maritime traffic.

The Kingsferry Bridge was built in the 1950’s and is a vital rail, road, pedestrian and cycle link for the people of Sheppey. It is also vital for the movement of billions of pounds worth of goods by ship each year.

What Network Rail are doing?

The bridge utilises 40 steel ropes to lift the bridge deck. These ropes were last replaced in 1995 and are now coming to the end of their life. Recent Magnetic Resonance Testing (MRT) has found the some of the ropes have degraded and urgently need replaced.

Network Rail will be replacing the 40 steel ropes in a series of closures this summer.

When is the work taking place?

  • Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June (2 days)
  • Saturday 15 to Saturday 22 June (8 days)
  • Saturday 29 to Saturday 6 July (8 days)
  • Saturday 13 to Sunday 14 July (2 days)

Network Rail has developed the program to allow the bridge to operate as normal between closures to reduce impact.

Why can’t you replace the ropes at another time?

While Network Rail’s regular testing of the ropes ensures bridge users are kept safe, if the rope’s condition worsens it could result in an unplanned closure and cause significant disruption to bridge users.

To reduce the risk of a sudden closure and take advantage of favourable summer weather and tides, all 40 ropes will be replaced between June and July this year. By doing the work in summer the risk of Sheppey Crossing, the alternative route to the island, closing due to high winds is also significantly reduced.

Staggering the repairs not only reduces the impact on local communities, allowing them to plan around the closures, but also on vital maritime traffic which contributes billions of pounds to the national economy.

What are the benefits?

The risk of a sudden unplanned closure of the bridge due to a rope failure will have been removed.

The ropes on the bridge will safely and reliably lift the bridge for another 30 years, supporting the local economy and the people of Sheppey and north east Kent.

Doing the work in summer reduces the risk of Sheppey Crossing closing due to high winds while work on Kingsferry is taking place.

Doing the work as part of carefully planned programme allows local people and vital shipping to plan around the closure.

How will your journey be affected?

We know that roadworks in the local area are already extending journeys for people and will work closely with National Highways and Kent County Council to minimise disruption and keep people moving.

During the bridge closures, a rail replacement bus and/or shuttle bus will be in operation to transport rail, foot and bicycle users.

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