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Installation of a new footbridge spanning more than 60 metres over the A1 at Gateshead is due to take place overnight on Friday 12 February.
The new bridge, which can be used by pedestrians and cyclists, is longer than the wingspan of the Angel of the North at 62 metres and weighs 55 tonnes – equivalent to one Angel of the North wing or five double-decker buses. The structure is being delivered in three pieces from Scunthorpe where it is currently being stored.
Contractors for Highways England demolished the old Chiltern Gardens footbridge last year as part of a major project to upgrade the A1 from two to three lanes. A time-lapse video of the demolition has now been released.
Roads Minister Andrew Jones said:
The installation of a new footbridge is a key moment as we add extra lanes to an important section of the A1, to deliver better journeys for people in Gateshead.
We are making the most extensive improvements to roads since the 1970s, and this £61million project is a key part of it.
The A1 will be closed between junction 68 (Lobley Hill) and junction 69 (Gateshead Quays) between 8pm on Friday 12 February and 9am the following day to install the new footbridge. The work is dependent on the weather and may need to be postponed until the following night if high winds are forecast.
Highways England project manager Lynne Biddles said:
The new footbridge will provide an important link between two communities and is an impressive structure, spanning six lanes over the A1. We need to close the A1 overnight in order to carry out the installation safely as we will require large cranes to lift the structure into place.
We’d like to thank drivers and residents for their patience while this work takes place and look forward to being able to open the new footbridge when the pavement has been laid on either side.
The footbridge is being installed as part of a £61 million scheme to increase the number of lanes from 2 to 3 along a 4-mile stretch of the A1. New parallel link roads are also being created between Lobley Hill and Gateshead Quay.
Once complete, the scheme will help reduce congestion and support opportunities for development and economic growth around this key route as part of the Northern Powerhouse initiative. It will also increase capacity and reduce the number and severity of accidents.
This scheme is part of the government’s 5-year road investment strategy which will see more than 1,300 miles of new lanes created and £15 billion invested in major roads by 2020. Clearly signed diversion routes will be in place during the work to install the new footbridge. All the details about the closures will be available on the scheme webpage.
Members of the public should contact the Highways England customer contact centre on 0300 123 5000.
Journalists should contact the Highways England press office on 0844 693 1448 and use the menu to speak to the most appropriate press officer.