IT was the day motorists have been waiting years for. The Sheppey Crossing was officially opened to traffic on Monday afternoon.
Roads Minister Dr Stephen Ladyman and Sheerness Times Guardian reader and lifelong Sheppey resident Reginald Grimwade opened the £100million crossing, linking mainland Kent to the Isle of Sheppey, putting an end to years of delays.
Mr Grimwade won the competition to name the crossing via his favourite local newspaper.
In his speech, Mr Ladyman said: "It really is a wonderful day for Sheppey and for Kent. The bridge will greatly improve accessibility to the regeneration areas on Sheppey, including the port of Sheerness."
Bride-to-be Kristina Wylie and her father James were the first members of public to drive over the high level crossing on her way to her wedding at Cooling Castle, near Rochester, to Marc Ackland.
They were escorted by Highways Agency Traffic Officer and Sheppey resident Dave Holmes.
More than 150 invited guests waved and wished her well as she drove over the bridge at about 12.35pm. "Our relationship has grown as the bridge has taken shape, it is a fantastic journey that I am making today, over the new bridge to my new life," she said. Then the barriers were lifted and traffic could flow freely to and from the Isle of Sheppey.
FULL STORY AND PICTURES IN THIS WEEK'S SHEERNESS TIMES GUARDIAN