Latest on restoration of Berwick Old Bridge
04 Jun 2021
The council has provided an update on timescales for the reopening of the historic Berwick Old Bridge, following a major part of its restoration and refurbishment.
The bridge is now expected to reopen to both traffic and pedestrians on 22 June, with reopening to traffic previously having been scheduled for July.
The council has been aware of the concerns of traders about the closure and, following a review of recent progress with the essential maintenance works this week, has said that the reopening for vehicles can be brought forward as the good weather has enabled an improved rate of progress to be achieved.
There will still be a need for a further short temporary closure for pedestrians and traffic towards the end of July, to allow for the application of a high quality ‘Rocbinda’ surface treatment on the concrete footways to provide a hard wearing and durable finish with a superior visual appearance. This closure will be for five days, from 8am to 4pm each day, with the bridge opened again each evening.
Teams have been working since last autumn on a £900,000 project to waterproof the bridge deck, relay the road surface and footways, repair the masonry parapets and install new LED Lighting. This work has followed £250,000 funding already invested in its repair over the past two years.
The iconic 15-arch structure was built between 1611 and 1634 by James Burrell out of red sandstone. The bridge was almost complete in 1621, but severe flooding caused damage which put back its completion by several years.
It is a listed Grade 1 structure and of historic importance, and its restoration has required scheduled ancient monument consent from Historic England.
Further phases of refurbishment works are being planned over the next three years, with the first phase starting later this year. These final phases of work will target improvements to the masonry on the arches, piers, cutwaters and abutments to ensure the whole structure is fully refurbished to benefit current and future generations.
Councillor John Riddle, Cabinet Member for Local Services at Northumberland County Council said: “I am very pleased that our teams have been able to make good progress on this essential work on the Old Bridge, and that we are going to be able to open it to vehicles earlier than envisaged. We recognise the difficulties that closure causes to local traders. ”
Berwick North County Councillor Catherine Seymour said: “I am delighted that residents and businesses will once again have full use of our 410-year-old historic bridge over the River Tweed. Berwick is lined up for significant investment, and transport links both old and new will play a key part in the success of the projects that are underway and to come."
Berwick East County Councillor Georgina Hill said: “Residents have really missed being able to cross the Old Bridge so the imminent reopening is really good news. I am also glad that this is happening before the tourism season gets in to full swing and just ahead of the cruise ships coming.”