16 June 2022| | 2 min read
Contractor named for Tyne Bridge major repair programme
Another new major milestone reached in the restoration of the region’s most iconic landmark.
A specialist contractor has been appointed to work on the major refurbishment of the iconic Tyne Bridge. North East contractor.
Esh Construction has secured the contract following a comprehensive tendering process for this Grade II* listed structure.
With the contractor now aboard, the programme can move ahead and vital inspection works can be carried out to assess the condition of the bridge and complete detailed costing and project plans, ahead of restoration works.
This is a strict condition of government providing £35.3 million as part of a £41.4 million bid to the Department of Transport for restoration of the Tyne Bridge, together with Central Motorway, which was confirmed on 3 June.
Once funding is released, Esh will carry out the refurbishment work to the Tyne Bridge on behalf of Newcastle and Gateshead councils. This is expected to begin later in the year.
Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for connected city at Newcastle City Council, said: “We are delighted to be making strong progress on the refurbishment of our much-loved bridge. We made sure we were ready to hit the ground running for when the funding would be confirmed, by getting the procurement process underway earlier this year.
“It’s great to have a local contractor with specialist knowledge working with us as we move towards seeing this iconic landmark, fully restored and shining proudly in the Newcastle skyline again.”
Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: "It’s fantastic to have the main contractor appointed so rapidly on a project that means a lot to everyone in the North East.
“The Tyne Bridge is a symbol of our whole region and we look forward to seeing the whole structure rejuvenated and back to its best.”
The first phase of the scheme will see up to 14 weeks of inspection and assessment works carried out on the bridge to determine the scope of maintenance required. This process has commenced, and a series of site-based investigations will get underway shortly.
As the bridge is used by around 70,000 vehicles a day, the councils and Esh Construction, have reassured road users that the programme will be carefully managed to minimise disruption to the travelling public.
They have also committed to develop the programme in consultation with wildlife groups to ensure that the main works to the towers on the bridge are done outside of the kittiwake breeding season, with nesting provision maintained throughout the works to minimise disruption to this protected species.
Steve Conn, Pre-Construction Director at Esh, said: “As a regional contractor, we are delighted to be appointed to restore the iconic Tyne Bridge, marking the first major maintenance programme delivered on this structure in over two decades.
“However, we are aware of the sensitive nature of these works to both road and pedestrian users, and the kittiwakes which nest on the bridge. Minimising disruption for users as well as protecting the kittiwakes will be at the forefront of this project both in the initial assessment process and throughout the physical repair works.
“We want to emphasise that we are choosing methods of assessment which will minimise the need for traffic management measures and reduce the impact on users, for example, utilising Point Cloud investigation technology and rope access methods to measure and survey the bridge.”
As the inspection work is required for the full span of the bridge, detailed project plans are being finalised, with any disruptive work to the travelling public expected to be from w/c 27 June. Full details of the traffic management plans will be released in the coming days.