Tyne Bridge restoration work to begin in April

The four-year Tyne Bridge refurbishment will start after Easter with work on the main bridge deck.
The Tyne Bridge, viewed from the Gateshead end of the Swing Bridge, showing the scaffolding on the Gateshead Tower

An ambitious four-year programme of restoration of the Tyne Bridge is set to get underway from 2 April 2024, as refurbishment works move on to the main bridge deck. Work began below the bridge deck last September, using the councils’ contribution in anticipation of the main bridge deck works starting in early 2024.

With the long-awaited funding finally in place, plans are underway to see the iconic structure returned to its former glory, starting after the Easter bank holiday weekend. 

From 2 April, lane restrictions will come into force which will see capacity reduced to one lane in each direction, as engineers start work on the main structural repairs on the Gateshead side of the bridge, next to the tower.

People are being warned that major travel disruption is expected as capacity will be halved on the Tyne Bridge, a route which can be used by up to 70,000 vehicles a day.

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, reducing the impact on the city region’s network and local economy.

Newcastle City Council and Gateshead Council are advising people to plan ahead and make the switch to public transport where possible when this next phase gets underway. 

The lane restrictions will be in place during the school holidays when traffic is lighter, which should initially minimise the impact on the travelling public but delays and congestion are expected when traffic returns to normal levels.

Cllr Nick Kemp, Leader of Newcastle City Council said: “The Tyne Bridge is not only an iconic structure for the city’s region, but also a major gateway to the city, used by tens of thousands of vehicles each day.

“We’ve campaigned hard to secure this funding and I am pleased that these vital works will get underway, particularly with the centenary fast approaching, but people need to realise that it will have an impact on their journeys. 

“You will have seen lots of works taking place in the city centre as we gear up for the restoration programme, this was to help improve traffic flow and prioritise buses ahead of this next stage of works to help keep the city moving. 

“Newcastle is very much open for business throughout the restoration period and we’re advising people to use public transport to minimise disruption as we carry out these crucial works to see our much-loved bridge returned to its former glory.”

Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: “We’re going to need everyone in the region who loves the bridge to do their bit to help us minimise the disruption that the restoration will cause to the transport network.

“We’re asking everyone to follow our travel advice, and make the switch to public transport or walking and cycling where possible, as we carry out this hugely important programme of work.”

Disruption expected. Plan ahead.

With the bridge reduced to one lane in each direction to protect the workforce and the public during the main bridge deck restoration this April, heavy congestion is expected on all approaches to the Tyne Bridge on both Newcastle and Gateshead sides. 

The Quayside is also expected to be busy as people seek to use the Swing Bridge. 

The public are strongly advised to use public transport where possible when travelling to and from the city centre. 

As part of the restrictions on the bridge, one footway will be available at all times. 

Walking and cycling routes around the bridge are being improved where possible to encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Newcastle City Council is providing additional safe and secure cycle storage in its city centre.

People should also consider Park and Ride sites, which can reduce congestion and help people get into the centres of Newcastle and Gateshead quicker. 

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 Redheugh Bridge will still be available for cars, but this is also expected to be heavily congested and is also subject to weather-related closures, particularly for high-sided vehicles in high winds.

People who need to drive into the city are advised to consider other routes, travel at off-peak times when the roads are quieter, as well as leaving more time for their journey and to expect delays. 

Large employers are also asked to consider staggering start and finish times to avoid peak travel times and encouraging working from home.

Ahead of the work starting, a number of junctions and bus routes have been improved to smooth traffic flow and prioritise buses. This includes upgraded traffic signals connected to the traffic management system that covers Newcastle and Gateshead. This will allow for better coordination between key junction to help keep traffic flowing on key routes between the centres of Newcastle and Gateshead, including the Quayside corridor. 

Improvements for bus services include the junction of Collingwood and Mosley Street, which is part of a key bus and taxi route leading to the High Level Bridge and new yellow boxes installed on the Quayside to improve bus access on key routes. 

Nexus operate a number of Park and Ride sites, including five in and around Newcastle at Regents Centre, Bank Foot, Kingston Park, Callerton and Four Lane Ends, offering over 1,000 spaces, with easy access to bus and Metro links coming into the city centre.

In Gateshead, work is ongoing to better utilise the existing Heworth Interchange long stay car park for Park and Ride, and to establish a new, free Park and Ride car park close to the Metrocentre and the A1 in the west of Gateshead, to enable people to switch to local trains or bus services.

To view full travel advice and for help with planning your journey, visit the dedicated webpage Travel Advice. 

Government funding of £35m was confirmed earlier this month for the £41.4 million package for both the bridge works and upgrade to the A167 Central Motorway in Newcastle. The council still await confirmation of the remaining £6m which was announced as part of the Network North plan in October.

A full programme will be set out in due course, detailing the phasing of the refurbishment which will see various sections of the iconic structure clad in scaffolding over the four-year period. Scheduling of the central motorway upgrade will also be confirmed in the coming weeks.

The full programme to the Tyne Bridge 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.

People are advised to keep up to date at ww.tynebridge.org and a public information campaign will be launched.

Local contractor Esh Construction will carry out the works on behalf of the councils.

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