The Roman bridge, built opposite the eastern of two hills, was of great importance to civil, military and local government. The earliest semi-permanent structure was constructed shortly after the invasion. With several phases of rebuilding, the bridge probably survived to the end of the Roman period.
It has been suggested that the first river crossing was built by the army to shorten the route between the south coast ports and the expanding frontier. The bridge may well have been used to control river traffic using a system of tolls or custom dues charged for passing through.
Goods crossing the river would have been subjected to controls and although the bridge would have spanned across the river, cross-river ferries must also have been in use.
There were quays on both sides of the river and one can only turn to the paintings and photographs showing the busy docks area in more modern times to get an idea of how the working river might have operated.