The Prince of Wales Bridge

button_lang_frenchThe Prince of Wales Bridge

The Wales Coast Path passes beneath the western approach viaduct of what was originally called the Second Severn Crossing, opened on 5 June 1996 by Prince Charles. In 2018 the bridge was renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge in his honour.

Photo of Prince of Wales Bridge under construction
The bridge under construction, courtesy of the RCAHMW and its Coflein website

The contract to build a second motorway bridge over the estuary was awarded in 1990 in response to growing traffic volumes on the Severn Bridge, which opened in 1966 and often had to be closed during high winds. The new cable-stayed bridge cost £330m to construct and is 948 metres long. The whole structure, including both approach viaducts, is more than 5km long. It has three lanes per direction and is less vulnerable to disruption in high winds.

The crossing was constructed by a consortium, Severn River Crossing Plc, which also took on management of the original bridge. The agreement allowed the consortium to collect tolls to recover its expenditure on constructing the new bridge and maintaining both bridges.

The aerial photo, courtesy of the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Wales, shows the bridge under construction in 1994. It is from the National Monuments Record of Wales.

The consortium's concession ended in January 2018 and the Second Severn Crossing passed into the UK Government’s ownership and management.

The Second Severn Crossing name was a misnomer because it was the third bridge over the estuary and the fourth fixed transport crossing. The first to open, in 1879, was the Severn railway bridge, which crossed near Purton (east of Lydney) and was demolished in the 1960s. The second, the Severn Tunnel, was opened by the Great Western Railway in 1886. It is about 400 metres north of the Second Severn Crossing, and passes below the eastern end of the English approach viaduct.

View Location Map

Copies of the aerial photo and other images are available from the RCAHMW. Contact:

Wales Coastal Path Label Navigation anticlockwise buttonNavigation clockwise button