Metro travellers warned of delays as bridge closes

REVAMP ... the Queen Elizabeth II Metro bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead will be closed for modernisation work.
REVAMP ... the Queen Elizabeth II Metro bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead will be closed for modernisation work.

METRO travellers in South Tyneside will face delays over two weekends next month.

Work to replace the tracks on the QEII Metro bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead means there will be no service between Monument and Heworth on Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3, and Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10.

A replacement bus service, 900, will be provided on both weekends.

Nexus, which owns and manages the system , is to carry out a multi-million pound project to replace the tracks on the bridge, which spans the River Tyne.

The work, which forms part of the £389m all-change modernisation programme, involves replacing two 400-metre stretches of track on the bridge.

It is the first time since the bridge was built in the late 1970s that its entire sections of rail have been completely renewed.

Nexus has packed the work into the first two weekends in May in order to minimise the amount of disruption to Metro passengers.

However, the work will mean Metro services between Monument and Heworth will not be running on the affected weekends.

Nexus director of rail and infrastructure Raymond Johnstone said: “This is a major programme of investment in Metro’s most important and iconic structures – the QEII bridge.

“We have packed the work into just two weekends so the disruption to our customers is kept to an absolute minimum.

“However, I apologise if anyone is inconvenienced by the work that we have planned in May.

“It’s the first time we have replaced the tracks and the trackbeds on the bridge since it was opened in the summer of 1980, when the Metro system was launched.

“Replacing the track is absolutely vital to ensure that Metro is around for many decades to come.”