Tyne and Wear(ing down)

After concerns and complaints about the neglect of the Tyne Bridge, funding for it has been signed off

Zahra Hanif
20th February 2024
Earlier this month, the £35 million of funding required for the restoration of the North East’s iconic Tyne Bridge was finally signed off, following significant delays as the project was first promised the funding in June 2022. The bridge, described by Gateshead’s Labour MP Ian Mearns as “instantly recognisable around the world as an emblem of Tyneside”, is in dire need of servicing due to corrosion, peeled paint, and rusting. 

This conclusion follows months of rows, with Mearns previously accusing the government of showing “crass neglect” towards the symbolic structure in delaying the delivery of the required funding. The funding was first pledged in June 2022, however this only ensued following years of campaigning for the Department of Transport to recognise the need for the bridge’s refurbishment, as no major maintenance has been carried out on the bridge in over two decades to date. 

The delays caused particular concern due to the timely nature of the bridge’s repair works, with several unique challenges in the Tyne Bridge’s refurbishment. For one, the ever rising costs of materials, which would mean additional charges that the original budget would not cover. Secondly, the return of Kittiwake seabirds, who, each Spring, establish nesting spots on the bridge and are unable to be disturbed or relocated due to their status as a protected species. The urgency of this project, for the above reasons, was stressed by North East Labour MP’s, who penned a letter to Rishi Sunak to express their concern over the matter. 

The restoration of the bridge, once complete, will also prove an asset for the North East’s economy, as it is predicted to generate £90 million in economic benefits. 

With the funding now in place, work is expected to begin shortly, and hopefully the Tyne’s former glory will be reinstated in time for its 100th anniversary in October 2028. The restoration of the bridge, once complete, will also prove an asset for the North East’s economy, as it is predicted to generate £90 million in economic benefits. 

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AUTHOR: Zahra Hanif
English literature student :)

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