Tyne Bridge final stage inspection to establish what needs restoring during major refurbishment

Engineers have been carrying out investigatory work to fully assess the extent of the repairs needed for the Grade II-listed structure. Credit: Newcastle City Council

The Tyne Bridge is in its final stages of inspection to establish what needs restoring during a £3million refurbishment programme.

Engineers are carrying out investigatory work to fully assess the condition and extent of the repairs required for the Grade II-listed structure.

In order to fully inspect the bridge, specialist engineers have been scaling the entire span of the Tyne Bridge using rope access.

This method allows engineers to provide detailed, hands-on inspections of all structural elements without the need for scaffolding or road closures.

They are currently inspecting the underside of the bridge deck to fully assess the condition of the steelwork.

Specialist engineers have been scaling the entire span of the Tyne Bridge using rope access. Credit: Newcastle City Council

Stephen McClean, of Esh Construction, said: “It is essential that we use a variety of different methods as part of the inspection process to obtain a thorough assessment of the bridge’s condition.

"This includes rope access, Point Cloud scanning investigation technology and specialist drone surveying.

“We have consciously chosen methods which would minimise the need for traffic management measures, reduce the impact on users and ensure no disturbance to the kittiwakes."

The final stage will be to inspect the bridge arch below from the road deck down to quayside level, at both Newcastle and Gateshead ends.

This work can only take place once the kittiwakes have departed after the summer season, to minimise disruption to this protected species.

All aspects of the programme are being developed in consultation with wildlife groups.

Further investigation works are required on the internal towers, where again engineers will use rope access to assess the concrete walls and structural beams and take concrete samples for testing.

The remaining work should take around six weeks to complete.

A full detailed costing and project plan will then be submitted to government to access the funding for the major restoration works.

The inspection works are a strict condition of government providing £35.3million as part of a £41.4million bid to the Department of Transport for restoration of the Tyne Bridge, together with the Central Motorway, which was confirmed on 3 June.

As part of this, Newcastle and Gateshead councils are contributing just over £3million for works to the Tyne Bridge element of the programme.

Once funding is released, Esh Construction, working in partnership with design partner Capita Real estate and infrastructure, will carry out the refurbishment work to the iconic regional landmark.

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