A BUSY Metro line serving Newcastle and North Tyneside is to close for two weeks next month for a major programme of modernisation works - including the complete renewal of an ageing Metro bridge.

An eight-week road closure, from June 20 to August 12, will be required to be in place during the modernisation works affecting access to the Fish Quay.

Within this period Nexus, the public body which owns and manages Metro, is putting in place a 14-day major line closure between St James and Tynemouth from July 16 to July 29.

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Tanners Bank bridge, located between Tynemouth and North Shields, is to be removed so that an entirely new bridge can go in its place. The line closure will also allow Nexus to carry out a series of other major track and overhead line renewal projects along with vegetation clearance work along the full length of the line.

During the closure, Metro customers will be able to use their tickets and passes on 11 key local bus services running in the affected area.

As well as renewing the 160-year-old bridge which requires increasing levels of maintenance and repair, the £3m project will improve height clearance allowing for better bus links and road freight access to North Shields Fish Quay.

North Tyneside Council and Nexus are working in partnership to improve the road into the Fish Quay as part of the Council’s wider ambition for North Shields, as well as making sure the Metro can run smoothly for decades to come.

Tanners Bank Road is closed for eight weeks until to 12 August to all traffic and pedestrians.

During this period, some car parking along Tynemouth Road near the bridge will be suspended.

Tynemouth Road will be closed to all motor vehicles next to the bridge for two weeks from 16 July to 29 July. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to travel along Tynemouth Road at all times.

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Businesses on Tanners Bank Road, Tynemouth Road and the wider Fish Quay remain open as usual.

Major Projects Director at Nexus, Cathy Massarella, said: “We are carrying out a big programme of renewal works in July which requires a 14 day major line closure of between St James and Tynemouth.

“These are vital works that will help to secure the long-term future of Metro for many generations to come.

“We have packed the works into a two-week period to avoid many months of weekend shut downs. We have also planned this during the school summer holidays when trains are less busy. I apologise in advance for anyone who has their journey disrupted.

“The works include the £3m replacement of Tanners Bank Metro bridge, which carries 173 train services a day between Newcastle and North Tyneside. 

“This bridge is a vital part of Metro’s infrastructure which now needs to be replaced. The current bridge was built in 1853, and has served Metro for 41 years since we took the line over – but this summer is the right time to replace it.

“The new structure will ensure that we can run trains in this area for many more generations to come, and the new one will allow greater clearance above the road so that more buses and commercial vehicles are able to get down to North Shields Fish Quay.

"The greater clearance also reduces the risk of bridge strikes by vehicles, which cause great disruption to Metro passengers.”

The project, funded through a £2.7m grant from the Department for Transport’s Highways Challenge Fund, £300,000 from the Metro Asset Renewal Programme, and £103,000 from North Tyneside Council, will see clearance beneath the bridge raised to allow large HGVs and double decker buses to get to and from the fish quay.

Nexus needs to replace Tanners Bank bridge due to its age. The current structure dates back to the Victorian era, on a line opened in 1839 and is said to have been the world’s first commuter railway line.

The work to install the new Metro bridge at Tanners Bank will be carried out on behalf of Nexus by specialist engineering firm Taziker Industrial Ltd.

Customer guide to the best bus services accepting Metro tickets and passes between Newcastle and North Tyneside during the July major line closure

Service 1: Newcastle – North Shields & Whitley Bay, up to every 20 mins weekdays (Go North East)

Service 12: Newcastle – Wallsend up to every 10 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

Service 19: Northumberland Park - North Shields up to every 30 mins weekdays (Go North East)

Service 22: Newcastle – Hadrian Road up to every 10 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

Service 39: Newcastle – Byker up to every 15 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

Service 40: Newcastle – Wallsend up to every 15 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

Service 62: Newcastle - Chillingham Road up to every 15 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

Service 63: Newcastle - Chillingham Road up to every 15 mins weekdays (STG)

Service 306: Newcastle – North Shields up to every 15 mins weekdays (Arriva)

Service 310: Newcastle -Tynemouth up to every 20 mins weekdays (Go North East)

Service 317: Wallsend - Whitley Bay via North Shields up to every 30 mins weekdays (Stagecoach)

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