Kent

Car accidents shut both Isle of Sheppey crossings

Sheppey Crossing
Image caption Five vehicles were involved in the crash on the new Sheppey Crossing

Both bridges linking the Isle of Sheppey to mainland Kent were shut earlier after a series of accidents.

The new Sheppey Crossing was closed at Cowstead Corner at 0815 GMT after an accident involving five vehicles.

Traffic was diverted across the Kingsferry Bridge, but 20 minutes later that was shut by three accidents.

Fourteen people were taken to hospital, one with serious injuries. By 1200 GMT the old bridge and one side of the new crossing had reopened.

Kent Police said the accident on the Sheppey Crossing happened when a car which had broken down in the fast lane was hit by traffic heading towards Sittingbourne.

'Significant step'

One of the five vehicles involved was a taxi taking children to school. Three children were taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital as a precaution.

The woman in the broken down car had to be cut free by firefighters and is thought to have suffered spinal injuries.

Nine other people from the accident also needed hospital treatment.

On the Kingsferry Bridge a female motorist had to be cut free after a head-on crash and was taken to hospital with suspected abdominal, pelvic and leg injuries.

There were then two more minor collisions in the congestion caused by the crash.

Chief Inspector Tony Henley from Kent Police said: "We are aware that closing the two bridges on the Isle of Sheppey is a significant step, but we had to do it for the safety of motorists."

The Sheppey Crossing opened in 2006 as an alternative route for traffic to cross the The Swale.

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