Old Bridge closes as West Street reopens

Investigative work which has required the temporary closure of Berwick's Old Bridge has started.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 08:27
Work being carried out on the Old Bridge Picture by Jane Coltman

Core samples have been taken to ascertain the condition of the historic structure.

Pedestrian access has been maintained and the bridge is expected to be fully reopened in time for Friday, April 14, and the busy Easter weekend.

An alternative route via the Royal Tweed Bridge is signposted for use during the closure.

The work is part of Northumberland County Council’s masonry arch improvement programme and the information gathered will enable the council to design a scheme of restoration work.

The Grade I listed bridge is some 400 years old and fears have been raised that it may not be able to take traffic for much longer, prompting further concerns about the knock-on impact on town centre congestion.

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In 2015 the council successfully secured £6.7million in government funding to repair 130 masonry arch bridges across the county. The council was one of only 28 councils nationally whose bids were approved.

Northumberland has a higher than average proportion of masonry arch bridges with an average age of more than 170 years. Taking action now is estimated to save over £60million compared to long term reconstruction costs.

Ironically, the bridge closure started just after nearby West Street reopened following its 18-month closure.

The lower part of the street has been closed from just beyond the junction with Easter Wynd due to restoration work on the historic Cowes buildings.