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Police have been dealing with a series of accidents on both Sheppey Crossings
Fourteen people have been taken to hospital this morning after four road traffic collisions on the two Sheppey Crossings.
The new Sheppey Crossing was closed just after 8am after a five vehicle collision on the Sittingbourne-bound carriageway.
Police believe this was caused when a broken down vehicle in the fast lane was hit by Sittingbourne-bound traffic.
A woman in the broken down car was cut from her vehicle by Kent Fire and Rescue Service and was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital on a long board with potential spinal injuries. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
One of the vehicles involved in this accident was a taxi taking children to school. Three of the children, all walking wounded, were taken to Medway Maritime Hospital as a precaution.
Nine other people were taken to Medway Hospital from this collision. Five of them were taken on long boards with potential spinal injuries and four were walking wounded.
The new Sheppey Crossing was closed and traffic was diverted along the old Kingsferry Bridge.
At 8.34am Kent Police were called to a head-on collision on the Kingsferry Bridge and this road was also closed to allow the emergency services to attend the scene. A woman driver was cut from her car by KFRS and was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital with chest injuries and suspected abdominal, pelvic and leg injuries. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.
Two more minor collisions happened in the subsequent congestion on the old Kingsferry Bridge.
Kent Air Ambulance attended but all 14 casualties were taken to Medway Maritime Hospital by land ambulance.
The old Kingsferry Bridge re-opened in both directions at 10.35am and at 10.45am the Sheppey-bound carriageway of the new Sheppey Crossing was re-opened. The Sittingbourne-bound carriageway re-opened at 11.16am, once the five badly-damaged vehicles had been recovered and debris and oil cleared from the carriageway.
Borough Commander for Swale, Chief Inspector Tony Henley, said: "Obviously this was a challenging incident that has caused severe traffic problems in the area this morning.
"We made it a priority to re-open the old Kingsferry Bridge as soon as it was safe to do so to get traffic flowing on and off the Island as quickly as possible. Inevitably there has been severe congestion in both directions in the aftermath of these accidents and we thank drivers for their patience. Hopefully now both bridges are open the traffic will soon return to normal.
"We are absolutely aware that closing the two bridges to the Isle of Sheppey is a significant step but we had to do it for the safety of motorists. At all times we maintained access for the emergency services should they need to get on or off the Island."