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The Medway Tunnel is a tunnel under the River Medway linking Strood with Chatham in Kent, England. It forms part of the Medway Towns Northern Relief Road (A289). The Medway Tunnel is the first immersed tube tunnel to be built in England and only the second of this type in the UK, the other being at Conwy, North Wales.[1]

Medway Tunnel
Medway Tunnel - Chatham Side - - 546544.jpg
A view of the Medway Tunnel
Locationconnecting Strood to Chatham in Kent, UK
Coordinates51°24′01″N 0°31′36″E / 51.400357°N 0.526721°E / 51.400357; 0.526721Coordinates: 51°24′01″N 0°31′36″E / 51.400357°N 0.526721°E / 51.400357; 0.526721
Route(A289) connecting Strood with Chatham in Kent, under the River Medway, in the UK
CrossesRiver Medway
ConstructedMay 1992 – June 1996
Opened22 June 1996; 23 years ago (1996-06-22)
OperatorRochester Bridge Trust
Tollnone (free)
Length780 ft (240 m)
No. of lanes2 (each way)
Operating speed50 miles per hour (80 km/h)


In 1990 the Medway Tunnel Act was passed granting the Rochester Bridge Trust the power to build and own the tunnel.[2] The work, which was carried out by an HBM Civil Engineering / Tarmac Construction joint venture, started in May 1992.[2] The tunnel was constructed in three distinct sections. The centre part of the tunnel is the 370 metres of immersed tube, which is linked to cut and cover tunnels on both the Strood and Chatham banks of the river.[1] The Medway Tunnel was opened by the Princess Royal in June 1996.[2] In 1996, it won an award from the UK’s Concrete Society.[3]

Running costsEdit

Things that are not allowed through the Medway Tunnel.
No horses, cycles or pedestrians. The alternative route for cyclists and pedestrians is several miles long. No parking is allowed either, and there is a 50 mph speed limit (Strood side).

In 2008 negotiations were completed by the Conservative council administration which purchased the freehold of the tunnel from the trust for £1 with a £3.6m contribution on future costs.[2] Cyclists are currently not allowed to travel through the tunnel which is not part of the local cycle network.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Medway Tunnel". Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Rochester Bridge Trust Archived 16 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Medway Tunnel, UK's second immersed tube tunnel". 2012. Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Medway's Cycling Action Plan 2016/18". Medway Council. p. 18. Retrieved 4 July 2019.

External linksEdit