Tyne Bridge restoration begins

Engineers are today (April 2) beginning the four-year task of restoring the iconic Tyne Bridge.
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The Tyne Bridge, viewed from the Gateshead end of the Swing Bridge, showing the scaffolding on the Gateshead Tower

One of the most complex and challenging engineering projects the North East has seen in recent years is getting under way from today (2 April 2024).

Engineers are beginning the four-year task of restoring the iconic Tyne Bridge to preserve the Grade II* listed structure for future generations.

The works will see over 900 steelwork repairs carried out as well as grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.

Esh Construction is carrying out the work on behalf of Newcastle and Gateshead Councils.

Lane closures to protect the workforce and the public while the works are ongoing are in place from today and drivers are being warned of significant delays.

Off-peak lane closures, between 9.30am and 3.30pm are in place today and tomorrow (Tues 2 and Wed 3 April) followed by a full overnight closure starting at 8pm tomorrow (Wed).

From 6am on Thursday (4 April) onwards, the bridge will be reduced to one lane in each direction, effectively halving the capacity on this major transport route, which is used by up to 70,000 vehicles a day. 

However, this current programme is subject to weather conditions, and a further overnight closure may be required on the evening of 4 April f(rom 8pm until 6am), which will be advised nearer the time. 

Pamela Holmes, Assistant Director of Transport at Newcastle City Council, said: “We’re delighted that work is now starting on this important project and know that many people across the region are keen to see the Tyne Bridge fully restored.

“The lane closures that are needed during the work programme will have a significant impact on traffic and we are warning people to expect congestion and delays.

“We’re urging people to plan ahead and help ease the pressure on the road network on and around the Tyne Bridge by switching to public transport, using park and ride facilities, walking or cycling where possible.

“We’ve got full travel advice at www.tynebridge.org and we’re asking everyone to do their bit and help us keep Tyneside moving.”

Anneliese Hutchinson, Service Director for Climate Change, Compliance, Planning and Transport, said: “We’re asking for everyone in the North East to help us minimise the disruption that the restoration will cause to the transport network.

“Please follow our travel advice, make the switch to public transport or walking and cycling if you can, and together we can reduce the number of journeys on the bridge, and help keep the area moving.”

A number of improvements to public transport, walking and cycling routes are being put in place by Newcastle and Gateshead councils to encourage people to use these forms of travel to help ease traffic congestion.

People travelling across the region are advised to avoid travel through the centre of Newcastle and Gateshead and stay on the major trunk roads and use other cross river crossings such as the A1, A19, Tyne Tunnel and Scotswood Bridge. 

The current programme of works will see lane restrictions in place for a minimum of two years, with further temporary lane closures and overnight closures scheduled for the remaining two years of restoration works.

The four-year programme is expected to be complete in Summer 2028, ahead of the bridge’s centenary in October 2028.

The Tyne Bridge restoration is funded by the UK Government, as well as monies from both Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council. The Government signed off £35.2 million on 2 February 2024 towards the cost of two projects: the restoration of the Tyne Bridge and the Central Motorway upgrade. The two councils still await confirmation of the remaining £6 million which was announced as part of the Network North plan in October.

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