29 November 2022| | 3 min read
Update on works to the Tyne Bridge
A report setting out the major maintenance works programme for the Tyne Bridge will go before Newcastle and Gateshead councils next month.
The councils will discuss the level of works required, programming, and costings for the refurbishment of the Grade II* listed structure, following vital inspection works which took place over the summer.
With inspection work revealing more extensive repairs than first anticipated, it is estimated that the major refurbishment programme could last up to four years.
The full extent and complexity of the work required has impacted on the length and phasing of the programme.
In order to carry the work out safely and to protect the workforce, lane closures will be required, which will see the Tyne Bridge reduced to one lane in each direction during the refurbishment.
As the Tyne Bridge is used by 70,000 vehicles a day, this would see capacity greatly reduced on a major cross river route between Newcastle and Gateshead. The councils have already begun looking at a number of mitigation measures, including promoting alternative routes and improving public transport links to ease disruption.
They will also be working with business representatives and public sector partners over the coming months and will publish updates as they develop a more detailed plan.
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.”
The £41.4 million funding package for the Tyne Bridge, together with refurbishment works to Central Motorway, was confirmed this summer. In order to access the funding, inspection works were required to fully assess the condition and scale of works required for the Tyne Bridge.
Engineers are finalising detailed project plans and costings which need to be submitted to the Department for Transport, ahead of funding being released. It is anticipated the major maintenance work could start late next year.
The full programme includes steelwork repairs, full grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.
All aspects of the programme are being developed 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.
Once funding is released, Esh Construction will carry out the refurbishment work to the iconic regional landmark.
The report will be discussed at the Joint Bridges Committee which meets on 19 December.