The Tees Valley Mayor has pledged to fund repairs to Middlesbrough's famous Tees Transporter Bridge.
Ben Houchen says work is already underway on a project to restore the Grade II listed bridge, with a proposal being brought to cabinet in January for approval.
The bridge is now 112 years old and was once the longest-working bridge of its kind anywhere in the world. However, it has remained closed since 2019 over concerns around safety.
Lord Houchen said: “The Transporter is as much a part of Teesside as the rolling Cleveland Hills or the beautiful Redcar coastline. It embodies our spirit and our history and to see it in a state of disrepair and left in limbo is unacceptable.
“The public have made their view clear in reviving it and getting it working as it should once again. I have heard this plea and will now fight tooth and nail to breathe new life into what is the symbol and pride of Middlesbrough.
“I know this will be supported across the political divide which hopefully means we can take a swift decision and get on with delivering."
The operation of the bridge is overseen by Middlesbrough Council, though the authority also shares responsibility with Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council.
Lord Houchen says the repairs will be funded from a pot of £1 billion allocated to the Tees Valley for transport, following the decision to scrap HS2.
Earlier this week, Labour's candidate for Tees Valley Mayor Chris McEwan announced his ambitions to fund repairs to the bridge if elected.
Accusing the current Tees Valley Mayor of a lack of investment in the bridge, he said: “The identity of the Tees Valley is rightly a proud one, and the Transporter Bridge symbolises our identity.
"This means we simply cannot sit by and watch it collapse into the river Tees, but must act fast to save it. It is our duty to preserve the history of our region. With the Dorman Long Tower demolished by the Tories, it is even more important to save the Transporter.”
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