Motorists in Durham face over a year of disruption as one of the city’s main river crossings is due to close for up to 14 months to undergo critical repair works.
The BBC reported that New Elvet Bridge, which connects east and west Durham over the River Wear, will close to traffic in July with the works expected to take a little over a year.
At present, approximately 17,000 vehicles use the bridge to cross the river each day, so motorists face serious disruption while the crossing is repaired. According to Durham County Council, the bridge is in need of “crucial repairs”.
A spokesperson for the council told the news provider that carrying out the work is essential to secure the bridge’s future.
Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships Brian Stephens told the news provider that the change in how we’re working as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to help reduce the disruption people face.
“Hopefully with more people now working from home, it will be easier to manage the delays and disruption during peak times,” he said.
During the closure, the central section of the bridge will be lifted to enable extensive concrete reparation, as well as repair work on the deck joints. In addition, drainage on the bridge will be improved and its deck will be resurfaced and waterproofed.
The council also intends to renew the waterproof coatings on the bridge’s concrete surfaces during the work.
Chronicle Live reported that the project will cost £7.5 million, with work due to begin on 20 July. New Elvet Bridge was built around 45 years ago to take the pressure off Old Elvet Bridge by removing traffic from the older river crossing.
The council has received £4.238 million towards the costs of the repairs, as part of an award from a UK-wide fund of £93 million that was made available earlier this year to support repair works on the country’s roads and bridges.
When the funding was awarded in February, The Northern Echo revealed that Durham was one of 32 local authorities to benefit from this financial support from central government. In addition to the money sourced for the New Elvet Bridge repairs, a further £3.7 million was secured and this will be used to refurbish a number of steel bridges around Northumberland.
Roads minister Baroness Vere also revealed that the government was providing £900,000 in funding to explore ways of future-proofing the country’s road networks.
“This investment will not only help local areas to target current pinch points on their roads, but will also harness our world-leading research and innovation capabilities to future-proof the next generation of journeys,” Baroness Vere stated at the time.
Those who live and work in Durham can find full details of the bridge repair works, including advice on how to avoid the roadworks around the New Elvet Bridge, on the Durham County Council website.
The council is recommending alternative routes and diversions to avoid this particular crossing, as well as encouraging people to avoid travelling on the roads at peak times and to continue to use public transport.
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