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Kingsferry Bridge repairs

We 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 are we 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.

We are replacing the 40 steel ropes in a series of closures this summer.

When are the works taking place?

The 1950s structure will close to motorists, pedestrians, cyclists and maritime traffic from:

  • 22:00 on Friday 7 June to 05:00 Monday 10 June 
  • 22:00 on Friday 28 June to 05:00 Sunday 7 July
  • 22:00 on Friday 12 July to 05:00 on Monday 15 July
  • 22:00 on Friday 19 July to 05:00 on Sunday 28 July

Last trains will depart the island around midnight on Fridays when the bridge closes. First trains will run from approximately 05:43 on the days when the bridge reopens.

Why have the dates changed? 

The work that was due to take place from 16 to 22 June has been rescheduled to late July. After discussion with schools in the area there was concern that the increased congestion on the alternative Sheppey Crossing and surrounding road network, when Kingsferry Bridge is closed, could result in significantly longer journeys for secondary school students making their way to exams.

Thousands of cyclists and support staff are also due to come onto the island on Friday 21 June and cross Kingsferry Bridge on the morning of Saturday 22 June. While Network Rail could have found an alternative way to get cyclists and support staff across the bridge, thousands of people and cyclists with their bikes trying to use replacement buses to get to the island on Friday 21 June could lead to serious capacity and safety challenges on buses. 

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.

What are the alternatives when Kingsferry Bridge is closed? 

When Kingsferry Bridge is closed, motorists are advised to use Sheppey Crossing but to leave more time to travel as congestion due to existing roadworks means journeys may take longer. 

People are reminded that pedestrians, cyclists, motorcycles/mopeds under 50cc, and horses/animals are not allowed to use Sheppey Crossing.

We will publish details of alternative arrangements for transporting pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycles/mopeds under 50cc in the coming weeks.

Trains will not run between Sittingbourne and Sheerness when work is being carried out. During the closures, a regular rail replacement bus service will be running between Sheerness, Queenborough and Kemsley stations.

People using replacement buses and local buses are also being advised to leave more time to travel as journeys will take longer.

Get in touch

For more information call our National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41, visit our contact us page, or contact us on X @NetworkRailSE.

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