England and Scotland reconnected again as bridge rebuild starts

England and Scotland are once again connected over a stretch of the Tweed as the Union Chain Bridge starts to go back up.

By Joshua Wright
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 4:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 4:21 pm

After a lengthy process to dismantle the crossing point, inspect, repair, refurbish and replace the bridge’s components, work is now underway on the re-erection of the main suspension chains.

In total there are 1.1/4 miles of steel and the first chain was hauled out over a three-day period to re-connect the two countries at this point.

The coming weeks will see the erection of the remaining 11 chains before work starts on re-installing the deck hangers before starting to rebuild the bridge deck.

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Restoration work on the Union Chain Bridge.

Restoration of the 201-year-old structure got underway in October 2020 and teams of engineers spent last autumn inspecting, repairing and refurbishing all the components that made up the bridge after it was dismantled.

It is anticipated that the famous bridge will reopen for use in late spring.

Cllr John Riddle, cabinet member for local services at Northumberland County Council, said: “This is yet another milestone and a very welcome one – to finally see this famous structure start to be put back together.

“We’ve worked hard to retain as many of the original parts as is possible while also ensuring the bridge is able to fulfil its main purpose and everyone involved with the project is delighted to see the bridge once again taking shape.”

Cllr Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for infrastructure, travel and transport, added: “The restoration of the Union Chain Bridge is a hugely important project, reinstating a key crossing point between the Scottish Borders and Northumberland and protecting this historic structure for many, many years to come.”

The structure is a key transport link between Scotland and England, receiving £3.14million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund in September 2019.

The ambitious funding bid was put together by Northumberland County Council, Scottish Borders Council, Museums Northumberland and community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge, following serious concerns about the condition of the world-famous structure.

Both councils committed match funding totalling £5.7m towards the £10.5m scheme, with other fundraising activities continuing to be progressed by the Friends of Union Chain Bridge in support of the project.