Launch day for pounds 300m Severn bridge

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The Independent Online
WORK on the pounds 300m second Severn Bridge, a project vital to the region's economy, begins officially today.

John MacGregor, Secretary of State for Transport, and David Hunt, Secretary of State for Wales, will unveil two stones which will be built into the three-mile crossing.

Construction gangs are now sinking piles for the foundations of the suspension bridge, due to open in 1996, that will link with the M4 and the M5. Tolls will be collected on the Welsh side.

The new gateway to Wales will span the Severn three miles further downstream than the existing bridge, opened in 1966 and since used by more than 250 million vehicles. Businessmen and transport pressure groups have long campaigned for a second crossing, to ease road congestion and encourage new investment.