Image demonstrating Historic bridge site restored

Historic bridge site restored

Painstaking work to restore a 300-year-old bridge to its former glory are now complete.

Eals Bridge, which crosses the South Tyne near the village of Knarsdale in the far west of the county, was badly damaged by the storms in the winter of 2015/16. The weather also damaged the land surrounding the bridge.

The storms caused millions of pounds worth of damage to homes and infrastructure, prompting the county council to launch an extensive repair programme across Northumberland.

The programme was part funded by the Government’s Department of Transport (DfT), which allocated £14.6m towards repair costs across the county.

At Eals, 60 metres of wall and parts of the road were washed away, while large sections of the riverbank were also washed away, putting the future of the 300-year-old structure at risk.

A detailed analysis also revealed cracks to the bridge, thought to have been caused by years of heavy traffic using the crossing. The opportunity was taken to coordinate the repairs to the bridge and river bank in order to minimise disruption to the travelling public.

Now the riverbank has been completely reinforced, the masonry repaired and a layer of carbon fibre inserted into the bridge deck, future-proofing the structure for generations to come.

The £1.4m scheme also came in around £200,000 under budget and is the final job to be completed as part of the county-wide flood repairs programme.

Councillor Glen Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Environment and Local Services, said: “The complexity of the work and the need to keep the bridge open to minimise disruption meant it has taken some time but I’m delighted the work is now complete to the highest standard.

“It’s a 300-year-old bridge but an essential link between remote communities so it was vital the work was done.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman said: “‘It is great to see the completed work at Eals Bridge.

“This important infrastructure investment from the Government and Northumberland County Council in rural South West Northumberland will make a real difference for communities along the South Tyne valley.”

Haltwhistle County Councillor Ian Hutchinson added: “It’s great to see the work complete on what has been a long and detailed repair scheme and I know the communities in this area have welcomed a key route being now fit for 21st century traffic.”
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