Work begins to replace 'quaint little bridge' connecting popular walking route through hidden gem nature spot
Work is underway to replace a ‘quaint little bridge’ which connects up a popular walking route through a much-loved nature spot.
Work began this week on removing the old arched Mill Dene View footbridge over the River Don in Jarrow.
The timber bridge – which spans 13.5 metres in length – has been in place since 1989, and forms part of the footpath network alongside the river between Hill Park Road and Ecgfrid Terrace.
But it was closed in July 2019 after structural problems were identified during a routine safety inspection.
The bridge will be replaced with one of similar appearance 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, said: “This quaint little bridge is a hidden gem not really obvious to many outside the local communities, but it provides a wonderful walking route over the River Don and through Primrose Local Nature Reserve.
“Unfortunately. we had to close off access to the bridge a couple of years ago due to its condition. It was beyond repair and in need of full replacement.
“We are now delighted to be able to start work on carefully removing the old bridge and installing a new one at this site. When completed, it will give local families and walkers the opportunity to explore this route and enjoy the nature in this area once again.”
The work is being carried out by contractor Esh Construction and is expected to take up to four weeks to complete.
Steve Conn, Divisional Director at Esh Construction, 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.
“Esh is pleased to be working in partnership with South Tyneside Council to deliver the bridge replacement and allow this established walking route to be accessible again for the public.”
The bridge replacement works are being 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.