Nine tonnes of bird poo removed from Tyne Bridge during restoration works

Workers carrying out the long-awaited refurbishment of the Tyne Bridge. Credit: Andrew Heptinstall Photography

Nine tonnes of bird poo has been removed from the Tyne Bridge in the early stages of its restoration.

Council bosses say that a huge mass of pigeon muck, equivalent to the weight of three Land Rover Defenders, has been already cleaned out of the void beneath the Tyne Bridge’s deck since the long-awaited refurbishment of the North East landmark began in April.

The four-year revamp of the grade II* listed crossing has been underway for almost three months now, with two of the bridge’s four lanes of traffic currently shut to allow space for the engineering works.

In an update on the project issued this week, Newcastle City Council said that contractors from Esh Construction had already removed nine tonnes of pigeon excrement as they carried out cleaning works in the 1.5m-tall void under the bridge’s footway.

The waste, which is classified as hazardous, is then taken to a licensed waste and recycling centre to be disposed of safely.

New photos offering a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the restoration have also shown a historic inscription on the bridge.

The engraving of the Middlesbrough-based Dorman, Long and Co, the firm which built the bridge in the 1920s, located near the structure’s Gateshead tower is part of a section which has now been cleaned with grit blasters and is ready to be painted.

Workers are now repairing steelwork within the 12 floors of scaffolding erected around the southern end of the bridge before it can be repainted, with the rusted Tyne Bridge due to be returned to its traditional green colour.

It is hoped that the huge renovation project will be completed in time for the bridge’s centenary celebrations in October 2028.

City bosses expect that the crossing’s road capacity will be cut in half for around two years, though further temporary lane restrictions and full overnight closures will still be needed after that.

It was announced last week that the Tyne Bridge will be fully shut overnight, between 8pm and 6am, from July 1 to 4 and July 8 to 11 to allow the famous Great North Run sign to be erected.

The bridge will also be fully closed between 8.30am and 1pm on Sunday, July 7, for the Great North 10k race.

Restoring the Tyne Bridge to its former glory is expected to cost £32 million, though it is part of a larger £41.4 million project that also includes improvements on part of the Central Motorway.

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