A CURIOUS coincidence that the two leading candidates in the race to be elected as mayor of the Tees Valley next year should both, on the same day, come out in favour of the Transporter Bridge being repaired as part of the £1bn “bonus” that the region is to get following the scrapping of the second stage of HS2.

The 112-year-old Transporter Bridge is certainly the icon of Middlesbrough, and is one of the defining images of the Tees Valley.

It is a highly unusual, and characterful, feat of engineering, and yet it has been closed since 2019 due to safety issues.

It is extremely welcome that both the Labour and Conservative candidates have seen the value of the Transporter Bridge and have committed to its repair.

But this shouldn’t really be a political issue. Of course, when money is tight, there is a valid debate about saving old stuff versus investing in the health service, but this generation is failing in its duty of care if truly historic pieces of infrastructure bequeathed to it by previous generations are just shut and allowed to decay before they can be passed onto the next generation.

Which brings us to the 192-year-old Whorlton suspension bridge over the Tees in County Durham, which is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the country. It closed in August 2019 due to safety issues, got all sorts of political backing and then received levelling up money in 2021 so that repair work, lasting a year, is scheduled to start this month.

We await the re-opening of both historic bridges with great anticipation.