Newcastle engineer thanks commuters as Tyne Bridge capacity halves during restoration

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Restoration works on the Tyne Bridge will effectively half the capacity of the major route for four years.

The engineer leading the Tyne Bridge restoration has thanked commuters for heeding travel advice.

On April 2, engineers from Newcastle City Council began the four-year works to restore the Grade II listed bridge.

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The works will see over 900 steelwork repairs carried out as well as grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.

The restoration works will take four years.The restoration works will take four years.
The restoration works will take four years. | NCC

For the duration of the works, the bridge has been reduced to one lane in each direction- effectively halving the capacity of a route used by 70,000 vehicles a day.

The first two weeks of lane closures has seen the expected increase in journey times but today the lead engineer on the project has thanked commuters for their patience, and for heeding the travel advice.

Pamela Holmes, Assistant Director of Transport at Newcastle City Council, said: “We want to thank commuters who have listened to our advice over the first fortnight of works on the Tyne Bridge.

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“This is a huge project for the region. We are restoring a national icon and we know the entire region wants to see the bridge back to its best.

“We know that reducing the number of lanes on the bridge does cause disruption on routes into the city centre, particularly at rush hour.

“That is why we have been so vocal in recent weeks, in the lead up to the closures being put in place, so we can minimise that disruption as much as possible.

“We saw an average peak journey time travelling northbound, from Gateshead Stadium to the bridge, of 18 minutes entering the city in the morning, and 14 in the evening.

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“Travelling southbound, from Cowgate junction to the Bridge, the average journey time was 10 minutes in the morning and 24 minutes in the evening.

“These are modest increases but nothing like some of the figures we saw reported in the opening days of the work, and not significantly higher than prior to the works starting.

“In fact, some of the journey times from the Coast Road were largely unaffected by the works, but we know that traffic has been lighter given the school holidays.

“We know pupils will return to school on Monday and that will see more commuters on the roads so we again want to encourage drivers to think about their journey.

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“Please continue to consider alternative routes in the city, take advantage of the various park and ride sites or utilise the public transport network across the region.

“For now, we want to say a huge thank you to those who have heeded our advice and kept traffic moving in recent days.

“The traffic has been moving but drivers have been patient, they have merged well and they have understood that this disruption will be taking place.

“Although the work we undertake is not always obvious given the location of some of the repairs, we have already made good progress and can’t wait to see the end result.”

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Esh Construction is carrying out the work on behalf of Newcastle and Gateshead Councils and work has been ongoing in a number of areas of the bridge.

A number of improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes have been put in place to encourage people to use these forms of travel to help ease traffic congestion.

People travelling across the region are advised to avoid travel through the centre of Newcastle and Gateshead and stay on the major trunk roads and use other cross river crossings such as the A1, A19, Tyne Tunnel and Scotswood Bridge.

The current programme of works will see lane restrictions in place for a minimum of two years, with further temporary lane closures and overnight closures scheduled for the remaining two years of restoration works.

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The four-year programme is expected to be complete in Summer 2028, ahead of the bridge’s centenary in October 2028.

The Tyne Bridge restoration is funded by the UK Government, as well as monies from both Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council.

The Government signed off £35.2 million on 2 February 2024 towards the cost of two projects: the restoration of the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway upgrade.

The two councils still await confirmation of the remaining £6 million which was announced as part of the Network North plan in October.

To find out more about the project, including the most up-to-date travel advice, visited the dedicated project website at www.tynebridge.org/

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