A Metro bridge which serves one of the network’s busiest routes between Newcastle and North Tyneside is to be completely replaced this summer in a £3m project - creating more space for better bus links and road freight to North Shields Fish Quay.
The Tanners Bank bridge, which is located on the Metro line between Tynemouth and North Shields, is to be removed to allow an entirely new bridge to be constructed in its place.
North Tyneside Council and Nexus are working in partnership to improve this key road into the Fish Quay as part of the council’s wider North Shields regeneration plan, as well as making sure the Metro can run smoothly for decades to come.
The project, funded through a £2.7m grant from the Department for Transport’s Highways Challenge Fund, £300,000 from the Metro Asset Renewal Programme, and £103,000 from North Tyneside Council, will see clearance beneath the bridge raised to allow large HGVs and double decker buses to get to and from the fish quay.
The bridge work will take place during a 14-day major line closure, July 16 – 29. A replacement bus for Metro passengers will be made available during this period.
Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro, needs to replace Tanners Bank bridge due to its age. The current structure dates back to the Victorian era, on a line opened in 1839 and is said to have been the world’s first commuter line.
Cllr Carl Johnson, Deputy Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “I am delighted that yet another part of North Shields regeneration will soon be underway. This new bridge is a vital upgrade to the Metro system and raise the current space below by 1.5 metres, allowing better access for buses under the bridge leading to and from North Shields Fish Quay.
“The work is being carried out by Nexus and supports our North Shields and Fish Quay Masterplan, which aims to create a smaller, more vibrant, and connected town centre.”
Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “We are investing £3m in the complete replacement of the Tanners Bank Metro bridge, which carries 173 train services a day between Newcastle and North Tyneside.
“This bridge is a vital part of Metro’s infrastructure which now needs to be replaced. The current bridge was built in 1853, and has served Metro for 41 years since we took the line over – but this summer is the right time to replace it.
“The new structure will ensure that we can run trains in this area for many more generations to come, and the new one will allow greater clearance above the road so that more buses and commercial vehicles are able to get down to North Shields Fish Quay.
“This is a major project that dovetails nicely with the exciting plans North Tyneside Council have to regenerate North Shields town centre and Fish Quay.
“This is a big engineering challenge, and when the work takes place in July it will be the fourth Metro bridge that we have completely removed and replaced it in this way since 2010 as part of our modernisation programme. The new bridge deck will be lifted into place using a specialist heavy duty lifting rig during a major line closure in July.”
The work to install the new Metro bridge at Tanners Bank will be carried out on behalf of Nexus by a specialist engineering firm called Taziker, who are based in Lancashire.
Managing Director – Infrastructure at Taziker, Neil Harrison, said: “With over 50 years’ experience in construction and engineering, Taziker is an experienced, multi-disciplined engineering specialist; ideally suited to deliver this challenging project. Our skilled people are already immersed in the planning stage, where a significant amount of innovation is being explored, and have started creating great collaborative relationships with Nexus, with whom we look to build a mutually rewarding experience for the benefit of the people and businesses of the North East.
“From design, to fabrication, through to installation, we’re looking forward to delivering this project to ensure that this important infrastructure asset is in a strong condition for the future.”