Monkton Terrace footbridge closures: 2023 start date set for repairs after closure due to safety concerns

Repair works paving the way for the reopening of two South Tyneside footbridges are expected to start next year, highways chiefs have confirmed.

The Monkton Terrace footbridges in Jarrow were closed in 2021 after structural experts raised concerns during routine safety inspections, including concerns about the parapets.

The footbridges provide a pedestrian route over the railway line and are separate structures to the road bridge itself, with the routes providing access to shopping facilities, schools and other local services.

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During the closure, a temporary path for pedestrians has been in operation on the road bridge, as well as temporary traffic lights to manage traffic on the remaining lane.

Monkton Terrace roadbridge and footbridges (October 2020). Picture: Google Maps

At a meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF) on December 1, 2022, councillors heard planned footbridge repairs had faced delays.

Project bosses confirmed the council was still seeking permission from railway operators to gain access to inspect the underside of the bridge, which is needed to ensure it is “structurally sound” before repair works take place.

Although dates had previously been scheduled for the council to access the railway tracks, councillors heard these dates were cancelled, as well as works being “interrupted” by the Nexus ‘Metro Flow’ project.

Dave Carr, South Tyneside Council’s service lead for highways and asset management, said the council is hoping to get access to the tracks in January, 2023, to carry out a physical inspection.

If this goes to plan and the inspection finds the bridge is capable of withstanding intended works, he told the CAF, a temporary solution would be put into place on one of the footbridges to provide public access while work takes place on the other footbridge.

Council highways bosses added this would allow temporary traffic management to be removed on the main road bridge.

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Mr Carr added: “We have been out to tender and have a contractor in place and have designs ready to do the work on the bridges.

“As long as the [inspection] results are favourable we will be starting work […] and we’re looking hopefully to start the permanent repairs in mid-April, but it will take up to 16 weeks to complete”.

During discussion of the project at the CAF, Primrose ward councillor David Kennedy said residents were “frustrated” with delays and temporary traffic management.

Cllr Kennedy added the communication from the council about the project had been “diabolical” and that there was a lack of confidence from residents that the issue would be “resolved in a timely manner”.

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A member of the public at the meeting also raised concerns about the level of emissions from queuing traffic caused by the temporary traffic lights on the road bridge.

Highways chief Dave Carr said the council were in negotiations to arrange access needed for the bridge inspection and that the repairs project is expected to move forward next year.

The council officer added: “The issue for us is access to the tracks to do that inspection and if we can’t get on, we can’t get on.

“It’s as frustrating for us as it is for everybody else.”

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South Tyneside Council set up a dedicated web page about the Monkton Terrace footbridge works when the closures were announced last year.

A statement on the council’s website at the time said that “the need to maintain a direct route for pedestrians along this heavily used route is seen as a priority.”

It added that the “closest alternative diversion route was deemed unsuitable for people with accessibility issues”.

For more information on the Monkton Terrace footbridge project, visit: www.southtyneside.gov.uk/article/6178/Monkton-Terrace-footbridges-closure