Next month on December 19, a report that will set out the major maintenance works programme for the Tyne Bridge will be presented to Newcastle and Gateshead councils. The funding package is set to cost around £41.4 million, however the report must be submitted to the Department of Transport before funding is released.
The councils will discuss the Tyne Bridge repairs, which could take up to four years to complete. Also discussed at the meeting will be the level of work required, programming and the cost for the refurbishment of the Grade II* listed structure.
This comes after vital inspection works on the Tyne Bridge took place over this summer, which revealed the extensive repairs needed. The work required includes steelwork repairs, full grit blasting and repainting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.
During the refurbishment, which will be carried out by ESH construction, the Tyne Bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction - in order to carry out the work safely. Given that the Tyne Bridge is used by around 70,000 vehicles per day, the council have begun to look for alternative routes and improve public transport links to ease disruption. As a more detailed plan develops, updates will be published. The major maintenance work is set to begin late next year.
The programme is being developed in consultation with wildlife groups, to ensure the main work is done outside of the kittiwake breeding season.
Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for a connected, clean city, said: “The Tyne Bridge is a symbol of home to Geordies all over the world and it is really important that we complete this work and preserve our much-loved bridge for future generations.
“This is a challenging and complex project, due to the sheer size of the bridge, its age and Grade II* listed status, protecting the kittiwake colony from disturbance and the massive scope of work required - which isn’t just the sizeable task of painting it - but a full restoration programme to see the bridge returned to its former glory. As well as managing disruption to traffic on a major gateway to and from the city.
“Early timelines show this could be four years, but we will be working to complete the work hopefully sooner, and we will be working with other authorities and public transport providers to have measures in place to mitigate the impact to the travelling public.”
Councillor John McElroy, cabinet member for the environment and transport, said: “The impact for our transport network of the work required on the Tyne bridge is going to be very challenging for everyone.
“We will support our partners in Newcastle as they work with Esh to plan these works, and help to reduce the number of journeys across the bridge to keep the network moving.”