By Andrew Pain
Thursday 21 Nov 2013 11:36:00
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The Tees Transporter Bridge will remain closed until Spring 2014 to allow completion of the £2.6m Heritage Lottery Fund supported works that will transform the landmark into a top tourist attraction.

The closure will also enable the ongoing repainting of the structure to continue, which has been extended due to the need for a higher than anticipated amount of preparation work.

A replacement bus service will continue to operate between Middlesbrough and Port Clarence throughout the closure period, the timetable for which can be found on the Bridge’s dedicated website

Work began this week (Monday, November 18) on the creation of a base for the Bridge’s new lift, with a steel circular pile been driven 18 metres into the riverbed on the south side of the Bridge prior to the installation of a concrete cap is installed.

The upper walkway flooring will also be replaced to allow wheelchair and pushchair users to take in the views from the top of the Bridge for the first time in its 102-year history.

The Bridge’s gondola will also be extensively refurbished in early 2014, with full-length glass panelled sides providing users with views up and down the Tees, currently not possible due to the existing gondola’s steel sidings. The driving gear from the gondola’s cabin will be removed and kept on-site as part of the Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project.

The Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre will also be the subject of further renovation work, having already undergone a first stage of refurbishment earlier this year. The work will make the Centre one of the most hi-tech in the region, with the installation of new interpretative panels and interactive exhibits in 2014.

A new state-of-the-art Tees Transporter Trail, drawing on research by a number of world leading experts in Teesside’s industrial and social history, will also be launched. A new Winding House Viewing Area was completed earlier this year on-site.

During the Bridge’s closure, the Transporter Bridge Visitor Centre will reopen from next month, with a temporary exhibition entitled Bridging the World showcasing the area’s bridge-building heritage in partnership with Teesside Archives. There will also be information on the Heritage Lottery Fund Transporter Bridge Visitor Experience Project displayed on-site. On-site improvements including cleaning and repainting of the Winding House and Bridge Master’s Cottage will also continue. Education, learning and events activities will continue both on- and off-site during the closure period where possible.

Councillor Nicky Walker said: “I would once again apologise to users of the Tees Transporter Bridge for any inconvenience and thank them for their patience and understanding.

“Providing a replacement bus service for bridge users whilst the renovation works continue will help ensure disruption to both users and the works is kept to a minimum.

“I am sure the renovations and upgrades will prove popular with regular users and visitors alike, and will further cement the Transporter’s reputation as a landmark of national importance.”

Tosh Warwick, Tees Transporter Bridge Education, Learning and Events Officer added: “Despite the Bridge’s temporary closure, our extensive range of activities and events will continue and new education and visit resources will be created, including December’s Bridging the World Exhibition celebrating of the bridge building heritage of our area using unique photographs from Teesside Archives.”

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