THE legacy of an iconic bridge recognised as “a European monument” by one architecture expert will be commemorated with a prestigious heritage award.

The Tees Transporter Bridge will join an elite list of transport heritage landmarks recognised with a Transport Trust Red Wheel plaque for its significance after first opening in Middlesbrough more than a century ago.

The Transport Trust’s Red Wheel heritage award honours the most important sites that have made transport history by installing bespoke plaques during commemorative unveiling ceremonies.

Darlington’s North Road Station and the Saltburn Cliff Lift have previously received the award with the Cleveland Bridge-designed Transporter Bridge being the next landmark in line to be recognised.

President of the trust, Sir William McAlpine, is due to unveil the plaque at a ceremony next month in a bid to support the ongoing conservation and restoration of innovative pieces of British transport history.

Sir William said: “It was Britain’s leadership in engineering and transport developments that made the Industrial Revolution possible and fuelled the growth of the British Empire.

“Fortunately, many significant transport heritage sites still stand and it’s most important that we raise awareness of them, so that the present and future generations can be proud of what their forebears achieved and maybe seek to emulate them.

“The Tees Transporter Bridge is an outstanding example and I am delighted to be unveiling this award on behalf of the Transport Trust.”

The accolade is the latest to be awarded to the unmistakable North-East structure that has recently been renovated as part of a multi-million pound Heritage Lottery Fund for the Tees Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience.

A new lift has been installed at the bridge, as well as gondola renovation work being carried out and enhancements made to the Transporter Bridge and Visitor Centre.

Tosh Warwick, Middlesbrough Council’s heritage development officer, said: “The prestigious Transport Trust Red Wheel award recognises the importance of the bridge as one of the nation’s leading transport heritage sites and marks the landmark’s place as the world’s longest transporter bridge still in operation.”

The plaque unveiling on April 7 is free to attend.