One of North East England’s most instantly recognisable landmarks has moved closer to being rejuvenated, with the news that the UK Government has finally signed off £35 million in funding for maintenance of the Tyne Bridge. 

Local authority officials had warned prior to Christmas that previously promised repair funding for the through arch bridge had not yet been received. 

However, this situation has now been remedied, with the Government confirming the cash injection will help restore and protect the landmark “for generations to come”. 

“Extensive renovation” of the much-admired bridge planned, alongside A167 improvements 

According to the Department for Transport (DfT)’s announcement of the released funding on 2nd February, in addition to the Tyne Bridge benefitting from an “extensive renovation programme”, significant improvement work will be carried out on the Central Motorway East (CME) A167, with the aim of lessening congestion and shortening journey times in and out of Newcastle. 

The bridge is set to celebrate its centenary in 2028, and the investment will – as described by the DfT – “safeguard the iconic structure for future generations and help grow the economy in Newcastle and the North East.”

A long wait to receive the go-ahead for much-needed maintenance funding 

Controversy has flared up in recent months over the apparent lack of action to make the urgently needed repair work a reality, amid concerns about the Grade II-listed structure’s deteriorating condition. 

The Tyne Bridge has not undergone major maintenance work since 2001, and it took until June 2022 for more than £35 million of funding to be announced to cover painting work and refurbishment of the crossing. 

However, local authority officials said in December that they were still waiting for the DfT to provide the money required to enable the main phase of the project to go ahead. 

For its part, the DfT stated in its February announcement of the funding that it had only received “final supporting information” from the local councils in late 2023 – at which point, the department “was then able to start to fully assess and progress the business case”. 

Hopes of improved aesthetics, vehicle access, and tourism 

The Government’s media release confirming the £35 million of funding stated that the money would “help improve the appearance of the bridge and improve access for vehicles, reducing congestion and improving traffic flow, which in turn will improve local air quality.” 

The article went on to say that with the North East benefitting from more than £17 billion in tourism, the restoration of the Tyne Bridge would also be instrumental in attracting greater numbers of both UK and foreign visitors, generating over £90 million in anticipated economic benefits. 

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