OREANDA-NEWS. Reconstruction of Chowdene Bank railway bridge will begin on Monday 26 October, with the existing road and pavement to be lifted out and replaced with new surfaces to increase the lifespan of the bridge, while work will also take place to strengthen the structure which crosses the East Coast Main Line.

Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the duration of the five-month project, with a temporary footbridge installed alongside the bridge, although the road will be closed to vehicles until 26 February 2016 with a short, clearly signposted diversion in place. Bus routes will also be diverted around the bridge during the work, which is expected to be fully completed by 18 March 2016.

The majority of the reconstruction will take place during normal working hours, although some elements will need to be carried out during evenings and weekends when train services are not running. Utilities running through the bridge will either be diverted or switched off for a period of time to allow the replacement to take place, but the supply to businesses and residents living nearby will not be impacted.

Mark Tarry, route managing director at Network Rail, said: “This important upgrade at Chowdene shows our commitment to investing in our railway for the benefit of the region’s economy. The new surfaces will increase the lifespan of this bridge, meaning the community can continue to use it safely and increasing the reliability of the rail network below.”

Residents living near the bridge have been informed of the work by letter, and Network Rail representatives will be on hand to answer any questions at a public awareness session at Low Fell Library, Gateshead, NE9 6HT, on Friday 23 October between 2pm and 6.30pm.