In early March, it was announced that Northumberland County Council was successful in securing £3.7million from the Government for works on ‘high-value’ steel bridges.
The funding, combined with a further £1.1million from the local authority, will see eight bridges fully repainted and repaired.
These are: C172 Alwinton Bridge; B6319 Haydon Bridge; B6341 Hepple; A1068 Lesbury; C202 Redesmouth; A697 Weldon River Bridge; B6461 Whiteadder (near Paxton); C254 Wylam River Tyne.
The cabinet is being asked to accept the Department for Transport grant formally at its meeting on Tuesday, May 12.
The report to councillors explains that ‘activities during the spring period are expected to include design, securing required permits and procurement of key contractors’.
Originally, the £4.8million was going to be spent in the previous and current financial year, but it is now envisaged that half will be spent this year and the remainder in 2021-22, ‘as the works will have to be phased, taking into account environmental and ecological constraints and the availability of specialist contractors’.
The report adds: ‘However, it should also be noted that spend profile may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.’
The funding came from the third tranche of the national Highway Maintenance Challenge Fund and Northumberland is the only local authority in the region to have secured three successive awards, bringing in more than £14million over the past five years.
In the first tranche, the council secured £5.625million of funding towards a £6.7million project to repair 130 masonry arch bridges across the county.
It then received £5million towards a £6.5million scheme to repair roads vital to the local economy, including timber, quarrying, agriculture and tourism.
‘Both schemes were successfully completed on time and within their budget allocation,’ the report notes.
Coun Glen Sanderson, the cabinet member for local services, said: “It’s fantastic to have secured this Government funding boost for the third successive round of the funding.
“These bridges are vital crossing points for communities, businesses and tourists and we need to keep them in good condition.”