Exploring the restoration of the world's oldest suspension bridge that's still in use

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The restoration of one of the world's oldest and most important bridges is now complete.

The union chain bridge, which connects Scotland and England over the River Tweed between Northumberland and Berwickshire, was designed by navy captain Samuel Brown and opened in the 1820s.

It was a trailblazer for the Brooklyn Bridge in New York as well as the world's longest bridge in Japan, and is now recognised as an international significant engineering landmark, sitting proudly alongside the Eiffel Tower, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Panama Canal.

But the overhaul was much more than just a lick of paint; it's taken two and a half years of restoration work to sort out decades of wear and tear.

There are 25 different ways to cross the border between Scotland and England by road, but few are as iconic as the union chain bridge.

At more than 200-years-old, it is the oldest suspension bridge anywhere in the world that is still carrying traffic.

Now, thanks to a £10.5 million overhaul, its future is secure.

The bridge is one of 25 ways Scotland and England are connected by road. Credit: PA

Ryan Convery, an engineer who worked on the restoration, said: "It is an incredibly complex project which is one of the biggest we have been involved with. It has involved a lot of other parties as well to get the scheme up and running.

"It is an incredibly historic and important structure. It is the oldest example of its kind which is up and running and takes vehicles. It was the first example of the start of other modern suspension bridges."

He added that preserving its heritage was a painstaking job.

"In essence we had to take the whole bridge down to actually inspect and assess every single component," he said.

"Every part of the bridge has been inspected to test its safety and it has then either been repaired or replaced. We wanted to make sure it was safe for at least another 120 years.

"With it being such an old structure we did find corrosion which either needed replacing or fixing. It was also important in a historical context to replace things that were like for like. This was to ensure that we kept the historic importance of the project."

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