Durham City bridge reopens
Durham's New Elvet Bridge has reopened today (Friday 22 October) following a full refurbishment.
The key city centre bridge closed in July 2020 for essential works, including extensive repairs to ensure the bridge remains structurally sound.
With work complete, the bridge is being reopened to all vehicles and pedestrians. Diversions which were introduced to reduce congestion and manage traffic flow during the bridge's closure, including the bus gate at Quarryheads roundabout, will also be removed later today.
During the 15-month project, significant structural concrete repairs saw the whole bridge centre span lifted, the southern span of the bridge removed and replaced, and the bridge's joints removed, repaired and recast. Additional work to install a concrete protection system, improved water proofing and drainage works were also undertaken to provide extra protection for years to come.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held earlier this morning to mark the completion of the project ahead of the bridge re-opening to traffic, whilst final checks were being completed.
Open to all traffic
Cllr Amanda Hopgood, our council leader, said: "I am delighted that work on New Elvet Bridge is complete and that the route and associated diversions are now open to all traffic once again.
"The bridge is a vital part of the city's infrastructure and itneeded urgent repairs to ensure it remained safe to use. The completion of the project is a significant engineering achievement.
"Issues such as the Covid pandemic and discovery of additional defects, which couldn't be identified in our initial investigations, have proved challenging but I'm pleased to say that the project has gone well. Contractors and council staff have worked hard to complete not only the planned essential works but also further work, which has reduced the need for future maintenance and therefore minimised the need for future disruption.
"We'd like to thank the residents of Durham, its businesses and those who travelled through the city, for their patience during the refurbishment."
Cllr John Shuttleworth, our Cabinet member for rural communities and highways, said: "New Elvet Bridge is a key route through Durham City and these works will ensure it remains safe and accessible for years to come. Maintaining our highways for the benefit of our communities, visitors and businesses is a major priority for us and I would like to thank the public for their patience.
"I am delighted this project has been completed, especially as we head towards Christmas, which is such an important time for the retail and hospitality sectors."
Dan Fawcett, project manager at Balfour Beatty, which was contracted to undertake the work, said: "Our expert team has worked safely and efficiently to open this essential bridge as quickly as possible.
"I would like to thank the public again for their co-operation and continued patience whilst we undertook these essential repair works, which have restored an important transport link in Durham City and will significantly benefit the community in the long-term."