WORK on the reconstruction of a primary road river crossing in Durham is on course for completion by the autumn of 2021.

New Elvet Bridge has been closed since mid-July to allow for the first major repair and refurbishment overhaul to combat the effects of ageing and weathering in its 45-year-old lifespan.

The bridge, connecting New Elvet with Leazes Bowl roundabout, carries an average of 17,000 vehicles across the River Wear each day and is considered an important link between the east and west sides of the city.

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Work completed so far has seen the road surface removed and a superstructure erected round the structure enabling the central section to be lifted about one foot above the bridge level.

This has allowed workmen to hydro-demolish defective concrete on the northern and southern joints, before reconstruction of new stronger reinforced deck joints takes place.

Project manager Dan Fawcett, of contractors Balfour Beatty, said once the central section is lowered back into place a new continuous southern section will be constructed, without the need for joints, to reduce further maintenance requirements.

Cathodic protection systems will be used to prevent metal corrosion with new protective coatings to be applied to the concrete surfaces, giving protection to the structure and improving the appearance of the bridge.

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:

The structure will then undergo full repainting with the coating system prior to the final deck work, surfacing and footway installation.

Mr Fawcett added: “Currently we are looking at completing the works by autumn next year.”

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Alan Patrickson, Durham County Council’s corporate director for neighbourhoods and climate change, said: “It’s been a tough year for everyone and that includes the engineering teams on New Elvet Bridge.

“We have managed to keep the work on track, though.

“We have been using safe operating practices.

“The teams have been changing what they do to make sure they’re Covid-secure and the project is on programme.

Mr Patrickson said regular visitors to Durham and local people will be aware of the road management system imposed during the project and will remain in place until completion of the work.

“The traffic management system is working well.

“It’s keeping traffic flowing around the city, while still making public transport available throughout the city, keeping our buses, keeping our cars and goods vehicles flowing.”

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Temporary measures include “altered priorities” in some places, prohibiting a right turn in some places, while the bus lane remains in place in Quarryheads Lane for the duration of the project.

The riverside footpath has also been closed to pedestrians between Baths Bridge and the Boat Club.

Thanking the public for their patience as work progresses, he added: “It’s a really important piece of work for us to get this bridge right.”

He said the council would give further updates on the refurbishment as the project progresses towards the hoped-for conclusion in the autumn.