Motorists on Tyneside are being warned to expect delays, as major maintenance work starts on a bridge that connects Newcastle and Gateshead.
Crucial expansion joints on the entry and exit ramps of the Scotswood Bridge, on the Gateshead side, have worn and need urgently replacing.
Work started on Tuesday 23rd April and will last for up to 12 weeks.
This will be the first time in the bridge’s 52 year history that these major comb expansion joints, which allow the bridge to expand and contract with temperature to prevent it from buckling and stretching, have been replaced.
Vehicle access across the bridge will be maintained at all times, though the works will lead to some diversions - either via the Chainbridge Road slip roads below the Blaydon Viaduct or the Derwenthaugh Road / A1114 Riverside Way roundabout near the MetroCentre.
The works will be phased so that only one expansion joint is replaced at a time, ensuring that only one diversion route will operate at any given time.
The first phase will involve the replacement of the comb joint on the northbound carriageway of the South Viaduct to Scotswood Bridge from the A695 Derwenthaugh Road westbound.
- Anneliese Hutchinson, service director for Development, Transport and Public Protection, says:
The bridge first opened for traffic on 20 March 1967 as a replacement for the 136-year-old Chain Bridge which was located a little downstream of the current bridge and which is mentioned in the well-known Geordie Ridley song “The Blaydon Races”.
Within a few years of opening, the new Scotswood Bridge had to be reduced from dual to single carriageway while strengthening works were carried out. This followed concerns that were raised about potential flaws in its box girder design following the collapse of the Cleddau Bridge in Milford Haven in June 1970.
From 1970, the bridge carried the A69 western bypass until the construction of the Blaydon Bridge and the new A1 in 1990.
Gateshead Council apologises for any delay this essential repair work will cause.