MIDDLESBROUGH’S distinctive Transporter Bridge will close for 40 days next week for repainting and renovation works.

The decision was made to delay closure of the bridge until after the August Bank Holiday to avoid disruption for those using the crossing.

The gondola will be out of operation to allow the Bridge to be repainted for the first time in a decade.

A free replacement bus service between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence will operate throughout the Bridge’s closure to minimise disruption to commuters.

However, should a major incident occur on the A19 which results in lane restrictions or a closure, as occurred last week, every effort will be made to suspend the works for a short time and allow the Transporter Bridge to operate as an alternative route.

Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s executive member for environment, said: “The repainting of the bridge is an extensive project that is a vital part of the maintenance of this unique structure.

“The replacement bus service will minimise disruption to users and the long-term benefits of the improvement works will outweigh the short-term inconvenience.”

The ongoing repainting work will enhance the appearance of the landmark structure, which is currently undergoing extensive renovation and improvement works supported by a £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund award.

The Bridge will operate from 9.30am to 3.15pm on Bank Holiday Monday (August 26) before being taken out of service the following day.