Drivers warned of A1 weekend closures as footbridge is replaced

The A1 will be closed between J65 and J66 while the North Dene footbridge at Birtley is replaced. Pic: Google Maps.

The A1 will be closed between J65 and J66 while the North Dene footbridge at Birtley is replaced. Pic: Google Maps.

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A busy stretch of the A1 in the North East will be closed this weekend for replacement of a worn-out footbridge.

Highways England will shortly be replacing North Dene footbridge, which provides a safe crossing for pedestrians over the busy road at Birtley, Gateshead.

The existing footbridge, which is beginning to show signs of wear and tear, is being replaced with a new steel structure, which will be in place by the end of February.

The existing concrete bridge deck will be removed using two cranes on the evening of Saturday, 21 January.

Once the bridge decks have been removed there will be further work to the supporting pillars before the new structure is lifted into place on the evening of Saturday, 11 February.

The work - which is weather dependant, will be carried out overnight between 8pm and 6am on both weekends, which will require a full closure of the A1 between the J65 turnoff for Washington and the J66 Birtley turnoff.

Diversions for both pedestrians and A1 traffic will be in place while the work is undertaken.

Highways England project manager Michael Hoult said: “It is vital that this essential maintenance work takes place so we can continue to provide a safe crossing point over the A1 for pedestrians.

“Preparatory work has already started on site which includes work to the supporting pillars and some vegetation clearance.

“Where possible this work is being carried out overnight to minimise disruption for drivers and pedestrians.”

If the work has to be cancelled due to bad weather, in particular high winds, then the work will be carried out the following weekend.

The footbridge will be closed for the duration of the work, and clearly-signed diversions will be in place via Long Bank underpass.