Royal Engineers trade Salisbury for the Severn in bridge visit

ROYAL Engineers training around the Salisbury Plain took a trip to the Severn Bridge to get an insight into major infrastructure projects.

National Highways welcomed 14 engineers from the Combat Ready Training Centre and 32 Engineer Regiment to the M48 Severn Bridge for a day of training.

The day was part of Exercise Wessex Storm – a four-week training exercise based around Salisbury Plain and the south of England and Wales.

As part of the day, the group were given a presentation on cablestay and suspension bridges to better understand structural behaviour, load carry capacities and how to quickly analyse the bridges.

They also took a tour of the bridge, visiting the anchorage, tower top and inside the bridge deck.

Chris Pope, programme delivery manager for National Highways, said: “It was a delight to welcome the Royal Engineers to the M48 Severn Bridge and give them a better understanding of how the structures work.

“These mammoth structures are key to keeping the country moving so it was a pleasure to help them understand better what goes into keeping the bridges safe, and also demonstrating the science behind them.”

Captain Jo Ellett-Swiggs, of the Combat Ready Training Centre, added: “We were extremely grateful for the team at National Highways for hosting us and passing on valuable knowledge on several highway structures.

“This was a fantastic opportunity for the training audience to apply their current knowledge to national infrastructure and develop specifics which apply to cablestay and suspension bridges.”

As part of training across October and November, the Royal Engineers from Reconnaissance Troop worked as an integral asset within the The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Battlegroup, who specialise in reconnaissance.

They operate from their Jackal vehicles supporting the mobility and survivability of the battlegroup and informing the Intelligence Collection Plan.

The bridges across the River Severn connect England and Wales, providing a vital link for businesses and communities.

The M48 Severn Bridge was built in the 1960s, replacing the ferry service which had operated across the Severn for many years.

It consists of four separate structures – the Aust Viaduct, the Severn Bridge, the Beachley Viaduct and the Wye Bridge.

The M4 Prince of Wales Bridge opened in 1996, increasing capacity and providing a more direct route between England and the cities of Newport and Cardiff.

Andy Wood, principal operations manager for Amey, said: “We were thrilled to have been involved with the Royal Engineers visit.

“Our teams of dedicated bridge inspectors and maintenance engineers play a pivotal role in keeping the Severn Bridge safe and serviceable.

“It was a huge privilege for us to be able to share our expertise with the Royal Engineers to enable them to make rapid assessments of the serviceability of major bridges.”

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