Final plans are being made for the start of an ambitious restoration of the iconic Tyne Bridge from this September.
Those initial works will have minimal impact on the transport network ahead of work next year
Engineers have now finalised project plans which will see work begin under the bridge after the Kittiwakes leave the bridge.
Those initial works will have minimal impact on the transport network ahead of work next year that will see lane closures on the bridge to ensure the iconic structure can be safely restored.
With inspection work revealing more extensive repairs than first anticipated, it is estimated that the major refurbishment programme could last up to four years.
Cllr Nick Kemp. Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “We are committed to preserving our iconic Tyne Bridge for future generations. For many the Tyne Bridge is a symbol of home and we welcome this progress.
“We are unrelenting in our passion to see our much-loved bridge restored to its former glory, but this will require up to four years of refurbishment due to the huge scale of works required.
“The bridge isn’t only an iconic structure, it is also a major gateway to our city and the works will have an impact on the travelling public from next year. We are working hard with transport providers to ensure good public transport links for people travelling in and out of the area.
“I am sure everyone will get behind us due to the huge importance of the bridge to our city and region, as we all want to see it shining proudly in the Tyneside skyline once again.”
Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council said: “The Tyne Bridge is an important landmark for the North East and we all want to see this iconic structure brought back to the standard we expect to see.
“We will collaborate closely with our partners to put plans in place to manage the transport network as this refurbishment works gets underway. It will be a proud day when the Tyne Bridge is restored to its former glory.”
In order to carry the work out safely and to protect the workforce and the public, lane closures will be required from next year, which will see the Tyne Bridge reduced to one lane in each direction during a significant part of the refurbishment programme.
As the Tyne Bridge is an important transport route, this would see capacity greatly reduced on a major cross river route between Newcastle and Gateshead. Due to the scale and level of disruption expected when works move to the main bridge deck in 2024, the councils have already begun looking at a number of ways to help people plan their journeys, including promoting alternative routes and improving public transport links to ease disruption.
From next year, the major refurbishment includes steelwork repairs, grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.
These works will maintain the load capacity of the structures and future proof the route by alleviating the need for continual ad-hoc maintenance works.
All aspects of the programme are being developed in consultation with wildlife groups to minimise the works around the towers on the bridge and other nesting sites during the six-month kittiwake breeding season, with nesting provision maintained throughout the works to minimise disruption to this protected species.
Local contractor Esh Construction will carry out the Tyne Bridge works on behalf of the councils.