New bridge opens in Jarrow, reconnecting much-loved walking route through nature spot
A much-loved walking route through one of South Tyneside’s hidden gem spots has been reconnected with the opening of a new bridge.
Work has been taking place over the past few weeks to replace the old arched Mill Dene View footbridge over the River Don.
But it was closed in July 2019 after structural problems were identified during a routine safety inspection.
South Tyneside Council said a new bridge of similar appearance has been created on the site – but re-designed to help prevent similar problems in future.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety at South Tyneside Council, was among the first to try it out.
“It’s fantastic to see a new bridge on the site,” he said.
"It’s a real transformation and looks brilliant. The bridge reinstates a wonderful walking route over the River Don and through Primrose Local Nature Reserve.
"We are so pleased to be able to give local families and walkers the opportunity to explore this route and enjoy the nature in this area once again.”
The work was carried out by contractor Esh Construction, ahead of the expected four-week schedule.
Stephen McClean, contracts manager at Esh Construction, said many people had got the walking bug during the pandemic, and the bridge would provide a refreshed route for walkers to use.
“We are pleased to complete the bridge replacement works ahead of programme on behalf of South Tyneside Council,” he said.
"We have all spent a lot of time enjoying local walks and green spaces as a result of the pandemic, therefore projects that allow more people to enjoy the surrounding nature and woodland areas have become even more important.”
The bridge replacement works were carried out sensitively following approval from the Environment Agency and under the supervision of an ecologist with arrangements in place to minimise disturbance to wildlife.
The scheme supports the Council’s commitment to invest in the natural and built environment as set out in priorities earlier this year.