Berwick Old Bridge is set to close to vehicles for up to two weeks from Monday 3rd April for essential investigations into the overall condition of the historic structure.

The work is part of Northumberland County Council’s masonry arch improvement programme and the information gathered will enable the council to design a scheme of restoration work aimed at securing the long-term future of the iconic bridge.

In 2015 the council successfully secured £6.7million in government funding to repair 130 masonry arch bridges across the county.

The County Council was one of only 28 councils nationally whose bids were approved. Northumberland has a higher than average proportion of masonry arch bridges with an average age of over 170 years.

Taking action now is estimated to save over £60million compared to long term reconstruction costs.

On Berwick Old Bridge pedestrian access will be maintained at all times and the bridge will be fully reopened in time for Friday 14th April and Easter weekend.  An alternative route via the Royal Tweed Bridge will be signposted for use during the closure.

While the Council appreciates that the works may cause some short-term inconvenience, the work is vital to protect the bridge for future generations.

Councillor Ian Swithenbank, Cabinet Member for Local Services, said:  “We are committed to keeping our road network in good condition and this includes repairs to bridges which carry thousands of vehicles each day.

“We understand the importance of minimising disruption and will be dedicating extra resources to this scheme, including working weekends, in order to reopen the bridge as soon as is practicably possible.

We hope that residents, visitors and businesses will bear with us during this essential closure.”

The council has liaised with key stakeholders, including the local traders association, and has agreed to do this work before the start of the main holiday seasons.