Union Chain Bridge will be closed to traffic for weeks due to extra works that need to be carried out

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Additional works will be taking place in the coming weeks on the Union Chain Bridge connecting England and Scotland.

Restoration of the 203-year-old structure, the oldest vehicle suspension bridge in the world which is near Horncliffe on the England side, was completed last year after every single piece was removed, checked and restored or replaced before being carefully reassembled.

Contractors will be carrying out finishing works to the project that were not able to be completed last year. This includes work within the Scottish and English towers, along with replacement of a number of the carriageway deck panels.

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To allow the works to take place safely, a full road closure to all traffic including pedestrians and cyclists will be in place from Monday, June 10 until July 26 – although contractors hope the works will be finished before this date.

The Union Chain Bridge connects England and Scotland.The Union Chain Bridge connects England and Scotland.
The Union Chain Bridge connects England and Scotland.

The rigorous inspection regime for the bridge put in place by Northumberland County Council identified some premature wear on the deck panels, which are a non-structural element of the bridge.

Further investigation has identified a manufacturing issue with some of the panels, so the opportunity to replace these at no cost to the relevant local authorities is being taken now.

A diversionary route will be signed throughout the closure period.

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Paul Jones, director of environment and transport at Northumberland County Council, said: “The restoration of the Union Chain Bridge was a hugely challenging engineering scheme combining the latest techniques along with centuries old craftsmanship and materials.

“While it was important to get the main works completed and the bridge open, there were some non-critical elements which we need the contractor to complete – as well as some work to replace a number of the bridge deck panels under warranty.

“It’s great to see the bridge being so well used again and we apologise for the inconvenience, but we want the work to be done while the weather is better and ahead of the main summer holiday season.”

The restoration was carried out thanks to a partnership that included the county council, Scottish Borders Council, Museums Northumberland and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge. It followed serious concerns about the long-term future of the world-famous structure.

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