Union Chain Bridge closing for inspection as part of lottery bid
A four week daytime closure of the Union Chain Bridge to allow a second round National Lottery funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to be progressed will begin on Monday, May 14.
The principal inspection will see the iconic Grade I listed bridge shut to vehicles from 9am to 3.30pm on weekdays, with the road open at weekends.
Pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians will still be able to use the crossing during its closure.
The inspection is required as part of a project to conserve the historic bridge, which is currently in a one year development phase after initial support for National Lottery funding from the HLF was approved in March 2018, securing a £360,000 development grant.
It meant the £7.3million project could be progressed further, ahead of a second round submission.
A spokesman for the partners of the Union Chain Bridge project said: “We are now working hard on our second round submission, which this closure is a vital part of.
“While we realise it will have an impact on local people, efforts have been made to minimise the disruption as much as possible, with walkers, cyclists and horse riders still able to use the crossing.”
Scottish Borders Council, Northumberland County Council, community group the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge and Woodhorn Charitable Trust are working together on the scheme.
Built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820, the Union Chain Bridge is currently the oldest operational suspension bridge in the world still carrying vehicles, and through securing National Lottery support, it is anticipated that the bridge project can also deliver numerous cultural, heritage, educational and community benefits.
The Union Chain Bridge project spokesman added: “We were delighted to pass the first round HLF stage, with our bid focussing on on conserving and raising awareness of the internationally significant bridge, which celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020.
“Our project also aims to raise the profile of nearby attractions, providing learning opportunities for young people inspired by the bridge’s innovative engineering, and developing meaningful cross-border heritage projects and partnerships.
“This includes using the bridge and its conservation to develop educational resources and case study materials for the teaching of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects from primary schools up to postgraduate level.
“This would aim to inspire a new generation to choose careers in science and engineering and to follow in the footsteps of Captain Samuel Brown.”