2 February 2024| | 3 min read
Long-awaited funding for the Tyne Bridge confirmed
More than £35 million of funding for the restoration of the Tyne Bridge has finally been signed off by the Government.
Ministers confirmed on Friday morning, 2 February, that the Department for Transport (DfT) will pay for the repairs - confirming the money to fulfil a pledge that was originally made in summer 2022.
Council leaders having warned repeatedly that the huge refurbishment project must begin urgently if the Tyne Bridge is to be returned to its former glory in time for its 100th anniversary in October 2028.
Engineers from main contractor Esh Construction now have certainty to set a timetable for starting work on the main phase of the bridge's restoration.
The full programme includes steelwork repairs, full grit blasting and re-painting, concrete repairs, drainage improvements, stonework and masonry repairs, bridge deck waterproofing and resurfacing, parapet protection and bridge joint replacement.
The scheme will require lane restrictions to keep the workforce and public safe for the majority of the programme.
Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Nick Kemp said: “The Tyne Bridge is the defining symbol of the North East which everyone in the region is incredibly proud of.
“As custodians of the Tyne Bridge, we’ve campaigned passionately and loudly on behalf of the people of our region to see this icon returned to its former glory.
“While we welcome the news that this funding is now in place, we have had to campaign hard for the funding to be released.
"Council officers have worked incredibly hard to ensure the full business case for the project was submitted in a timely manner. I thank them personally for their commitment.
"It has been very disappointing to see the Government suggest that the delays in this funding being released was a result of delays in paperwork being submitted by the authority. That is simply not the case.
"However, we can now push on with our plans to see it fully restored in time for its centenary, which the people of our region expect and deserve.”
Councillor Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council, said: "We're so glad to have this vital funding confirmed.
"The Tyne Bridge is incredibly important to us all, symbolic of our strength and resilience, and recognised around the world.
"When restoration work begins in earnest, we are going to need everyone in the region who loves the bridge to do their bit to help us minimise the disruption that the restoration will cause to the transport network.
"I'm confident the results of the programme will be worth the wait - it will be a proud day for everyone when our Tyne Bridge is restored to its rightful place as a shining icon of the region."
The Department for Transport confirmed it will provide £35.2 million towards the total £41.4 million costs of restoring the Tyne Bridge and making improvements on the Central Motorway in Newcastle.
Some initial works on the bridge's repairs began in September, funded by the two councils, but the main phase of the project has been dependent on the Government providing its majority share of the cash.
The two councils have warned that any delay to the engineering works could mean that costs will increase, the project will not be completed in time for the bridge's centenary, and that another Great North Run and nesting season for the Quayside's kittiwakes would be disrupted.
The councils await further confirmation of the outstanding £6 million which was pledged as part of the Network North announcement in October, where government would commit the full £41.4 million.
If you would like to give us feedback on our website, please complete this short online form.