DRIVERS in Durham will be facing major disruption this summer due to bridge work.
Essential works on the A690 Milburngate Bridge in the city are to be discussed by Durham County Council’s cabinet.
The 48-year-old structure, which carries about 48,000 vehicles every day, is still safe to use but routine maintenance works, including drainage, parapets, surfacing, concrete
Repairs and a replacement waterproofing system, are now needed.
Officers said it is vital that the project is carried out as soon as possible as it has been nearly 20 years since the last major renovation of the bridge, which is the most heavily trafficked non-trunk road in County Durham and a key route through the city.
Once the project has been completed the bridge is not expected to need any further major maintenance for around 15 to 20 years.
Cabinet members will next week, Wednesday, March 18, consider three options which will allow the work to be carried out.
The recommended proposal involves keeping the bridge open in both directions and starting work on Sunday, July 12, following the Miners’ Gala.
Work, costing up to £1million, would continue throughout the school summer holidays when fewer vehicles are anticipated to be on the roads in order to minimise disruption as much as possible.
If the recommendation is given the go-ahead it would see the seven-week project carried out in a number of phases, which will mean that one lane on the bridge will remain open in both directions at all times, except for some necessary overnight closures when traffic management would be in place and at least one footway would remain open at all times.
However, motorists are warned to expect major disruption in and around Durham City while the work is carried out.
Councillor Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “These works are absolutely vital for the long-term future of this key route through the city and if we don’t act now then more extensive and prolonged repairs could be required.
“This will also help ensure future developments and improvements in and around the city go ahead.
“We will be doing all we can to keep disruption to a minimum by working from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week with occasional night-time working, but unfortunately significant delays and congestion will be inevitable.
“We plan to keep everybody up to date as the scheme progresses, including using a live webcam stream so people can monitor its progress.
“We are also urging people to only travel through the city if absolutely necessary or use alternative routes to avoid disruption and consider alternative forms of transport, such as
park and ride or public transport.”
A number of other major projects currently planned to take place in Durham City and the surrounding area during the summer will be scheduled around the bridge works to avoid any conflict.