New images have offered a glimpse at how the Tyne Bridge will look during different phases of its long-awaited refurbishment.

A four-year maintenance scheme to return the world-famous crossing to its former glory is due to start in earnest on Tuesday, April 2.

Engineers from contractors Esh are preparing to complete around 1,000 separate repairs across the bridge – including a full repaint and significant structural fixes needed to ensure it remains strong enough to serve the people of Tyneside for decades to come.The Northern Echo: How the Tyne Bridge will look during one phase of its restoration

Roughly 13,000 tonnes of scaffolding installed over 20 phases will be needed between now and 2028 to carry out the £41.4 million works while also keeping the bridge at least partially open to traffic.

Because of the huge weight of the scaffolding, the entirety of the bridge will not be covered all at once.

Instead, it will be moved from one section to another during different phases of the renovations.

Work will begin on the underside of the bridge, starting at its Gateshead end where scaffolding has already been erected.The Northern Echo: How the Tyne Bridge will look during one phase of its restoration

Scaffolding similar to that currently seen on the south side of the bridge will be put up on the Newcastle Quayside later this year, once the colony of kittiwakes that nests there has departed in August.

The repairs will move gradually across the main span of the bridge, with the repainting of its famous arch due to be completed towards the end of the project in 2028.

It is hoped that the scheme will be finished in time for the celebrations that will mark 100 years since the Tyne Bridge was opened in October 2028.The Northern Echo: How the Tyne Bridge will look during one phase of its restoration

Andy Radcliffe, chief executive of contractors Esh Construction, explained on Thursday morning how a failure to carry out the vast restoration works now would mean that lane and weight restrictions would have to be imposed in future to limit the strain on the bridge.

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He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “There is a huge amount of structural work required, as well as the aesthetics of the painting. It is not just a lick of paint, there are deep structural repairs required which is why it will take a long time.

“On top of that there is a meticulous amount of planning required to ensure we maintain the flow of traffic over the bridge.”

Mr Radcliffe added: “This bridge needs to be future-proofed for the next generation to come. If we didn’t carry out these repairs, the bridge would probably only be open with restricted access in the future. It is essential that we maintain this icon of the North East for future generations.”