Funding of over £35 million has been awarded to Newcastle for the restoration of the iconic Tyne Bridge.
The famous bridge over The Tyne has become shabby-looking with rust taking over the structure and many locals fearing it may become an eyesore.
Today, on Friday, June 3, Newcastle City Council has confirmed that a long fight for funding has been successful.
The government will provide £35.3 million for the restoration project, with the remaining monies contributed by Newcastle and Gateshead councils.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp said: “This is fantastic news for the city and the North East.
"Our much-loved bridge, which is a symbol of home for Geordies all over the world, will soon be shining proudly in the Newcastle skyline once again.
"This funding is not simply for repainting but is a complete refurbishment of the bridge that will involve exploring innovative and environmental approaches in this work.
“We’ve campaigned passionately to have the bridge restored in advance of its centenary, so I am pleased that the importance of the bridge, not only as an iconic landmark of the North East but also as a major gateway to the city, has been recognised by the government.
“We’ve been getting ready for this moment, so we can start refurbishment at the earliest opportunity and see our amazing bridge restored to its former glory and preserved for future generations.”
Martin Gannon, leader of Gateshead Council and chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: "We are very glad to have finally got this funding agreed.
“Newcastle and Gateshead have worked closely together to campaign for national funding, to recognise the huge significance of the Tyne Bridge as a symbol of our whole region.
“This is a vital route for cross-river traffic, at the heart of our network, and it’s fantastic that it will be back to its best in time for the centenary.”
The Tyne Bridge, together with the Central Motorway, were part of a bid of £41.4 million bid that Newcastle City Council submitted to the Department for Transport in 2019 as part of their Major Road Network fund and the council has been in ongoing discussion with the government ever since.
The works to refurbish the Tyne Bridge are predicted to start later this year and may take up to two years to complete.
Work on the Central Motorway would get underway in 2023, with a final completion date of work on the motorway in 2026.
The funding package includes a long-overdue major maintenance programme for the Tyne Bridge, which includes the sizeable task of painting it, as well as upgrading many parts of its ageing structure.
The Grade 2 listed structure was last refurbished and painted in 2001.
The paint system was designed to last approximately 18-20 years between major maintenance.
The full programme of funding includes steelwork repairs, full re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.