Tyne Bridge to get makeover with £35 million government funding

One of the North East’s most famous icons the Tyne Bridge will be refurbished as the government delivers a £35 million boost to restore the bridge and secure its future.

Roads Minister, Guy Opperman, has been in Newcastle to confirm that the Tyne Bridge will undergo an extensive renovation programme, alongside major improvements on the Central Motorway East (CME) A167 to tackle congestion and improve journey times in and out of Newcastle.

This is part of the government’s Network North plan which will improve local transport across the North East, with today’s announcement following our record £544 million in funding for a long-term plan to resurface local roads across the North East.

Every penny of the £19.8 billion committed to the Northern leg of High Speed 2 (HS2) will be reinvested in transport across the North.

With the centenary of the bridge’s opening approaching in 2028, the investment will safeguard the iconic structure for future generations and help grow the economy in Newcastle and the North East.

Roads Minister, Guy Opperman, said: “Today is a historic day for Newcastle and the North East. Our £35 million boost will restore the Tyne Bridge in all its glory so that it can shine proudly as one of the UK’s most iconic landmarks.

“This is part of the government’s Network North plan which will improve local transport across the North East, with today’s announcement following our record £544 million in funding for a long-term plan to resurface local roads across the North East.”

A Grade II-listed structure, the Tyne Bridge is a defining landmark of the North East. Designed by the same team as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it was the world’s longest-span bridge at the time of its construction in 1928, and over 70,000 drivers now use the bridge every day to get in and out of Newcastle.

It was officially opened by King George V in October 1928, who became the first to cross it in a horse-drawn carriage – watched by 20,000 local school children who were given the day off to mark the occasion.

The bridge has survived lightning strikes and has been used to mark occasions such as the 2012 Olympics and the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The last major maintenance work to the bridge was carried out in 2001 while the A167 has not received significant maintenance since it opened in 1975. This announcement shows that the government is determined to change that.

After receiving the final supporting information from the local councils in late 2023, the Department for Transport was then able to start to fully assess and progress the business case – as is the usual process, working quickly to approve the funding for the maintenance works to start as soon as possible.

The essential improvements announced today will help improve the appearance of the bridge and improve access for vehicles, reducing congestion and improving traffic flow, which in turn will improve local air quality.

With tourism worth more than £17 billion to the North East economy, restoring the Tyne Bridge will also help attract more visitors both from the UK and overseas, and will generate over £90 million in expected economic benefits in a welcome boost for local businesses and jobs.

VisitBritain/VisitEngland CEO, Patricia Yates, said: “Our history and heritage are top motivators for visitors and it is fantastic to see this iconic and much-loved landmark being restored, keeping its star shining brightly as a major draw for both domestic and international visitors for generations to come.”

The crucial works follow over £544 million to improve local roads in the North East, as part of the largest-ever funding boost of £8.3 billion, enough to resurface more than 5,000 miles of local roads in England. This funding has only been made possible thanks to reallocated investment from the second phase of HS2, as the government continues to invest in local transport projects that will benefit more people in more places, more quickly.

Boosting the structural integrity of the Tyne Bridge will also mean heavier vans and lorries will no longer need to be rerouted through residential areas, protecting air quality for many Newcastle residents.

The project will see the government provide £35.2 million towards the total scheme cost of £41.4 million. The remainder of the funding will be provided by Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Metropolitan Borough Council.

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