Esh to avoid nesting season on Tyne Bridge refurb

Tyne Bridge

Esh Construction secured the contract following a comprehensive tendering process for the Grade II* listed structure.

To get the job, it had to promise not to disrupt kittiwakes nesting on the bridge.

With the contractor now selected, the programme can move ahead. The first phase of the scheme will see up to 14 weeks of inspection and assessment works carried out on the bridge to determine the scope of maintenance required. This process has started, and a series of site-based investigations will start soon. Esh is work with its design partner, Capita Real Estate.

The planning is a condition of government providing £35.3m as part of a £41.4m bid to the Department of Transport for restoration of the Tyne Bridge, together with Central Motorway.

Once funding is released, Esh will carry out the refurbishment work to the Tyne Bridge on behalf of Newcastle and Gateshead councils. This is expected to begin later in the year.

Cllr Jane Byrne, cabinet member for connected city at Newcastle City Council, said: “We are delighted to be making strong progress on the refurbishment of our much-loved bridge. We made sure we were ready to hit the ground running for when the funding would be confirmed, by getting the procurement process underway earlier this year.

“It’s great to have a local contractor with specialist knowledge working with us as we move towards seeing this iconic landmark, fully restored and shining proudly in the Newcastle skyline again.”

Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “The Tyne Bridge is a symbol of our whole region and we look forward to seeing the whole structure rejuvenated and back to its best.”

Esh has committed to develop the programme in consultation with wildlife groups to ensure that the main works to the towers on the bridge are done outside of the kittiwake breeding season, with nesting provision maintained throughout the works to minimise disruption to this protected species.

A kittiwake
A kittiwake

Steve Conn, pre-construction director at Esh, said: “As a regional contractor, we are delighted to be appointed to restore the iconic Tyne Bridge, marking the first major maintenance programme delivered on this structure in over two decades.

“However, we are aware of the sensitive nature of these works to both road and pedestrian users, and the kittiwakes which nest on the bridge. Minimising disruption for users as well as protecting the kittiwakes will be at the forefront of this project both in the initial assessment process and throughout the physical repair works.

“We want to emphasise that we are choosing methods of assessment which will minimise the need for traffic management measures and reduce the impact on users, for example, utilising Point Cloud investigation technology and rope access methods to measure and survey the bridge.”

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