Disruption for Chain Bridge

Work is being done on the Union Chain Bridge in preparation for the next stage of the National Lottery Fund application
Work is being done on the Union Chain Bridge in preparation for the next stage of the National Lottery Fund application

A six week series of closures of the iconic Union Chain Bridge is about to start as further progress is made on the second round National Lottery bid.

The closure, which will be intermittent, begins on Monday, January 7, and runs from 9am to 4pm, with the bridge fully open at weekends.

Pedestrians and cyclists will continue to be able to use the bridge but may face short delays at times until it is safe to cross.

To minimise the impact for local residents and nearby visitor attractions, and because of the nature of the works, there may be periods during this time when the road is open to all traffic and diversion and advance warning signs will notify drivers of this happening.

A fully signed diversion route will be in place for the duration of the closure, which will allow chamber inspections to the English and Scottish towers, painting works and a pilot study of the handrails for future repairs.

The works are required as part of an ambitious project to conserve the internationally significant 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 £7.3 million project could be progressed further, ahead of a second round bid submission planned in March 2019.

A spokesperson for the partners of the Union Chain Bridge project said: “We realise this is a lengthy daytime closure but it is absolutely essential that we undertake further detailed investigations into the condition of the bridge and to trial some of the proposed conservation works, so that our second round bid to the National Lottery has the best possible chance of success.

“We hope local people understand the need to close the road to vehicles during weekdays, with the bridge fully open to all at weekends and still open Monday to Friday for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.”

The bid focuses on conserving and raising awareness of the bridge, which celebrates its 200th birthday in 2020.

Scottish Borders Council, Northumberland County Council, community group the Friends of the Union Chain Bridge and Museums Northumberland 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,

The Union Chain Bridge project aims to use the structure 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 to inspire a new generation to choose careers in science and engineering and to follow in the footsteps of Captain Samuel Brown.