Backers of a £7.3M overhaul of the Union Chain Bridge have said they are preparing the “strongest bid possible” to secure funds for the project so that vital upgrades can begin next year.
Northumberland County Council and Scottish Borders Council are working on the funding application to submit to the National Lottery Hedge Fund to secure a £360,000 development grant for the project.
If successful, the councils have confirmed that work on the suspension bridge connecting England and Scotland could start early next year.
The bridge needs new hangers, its deck has to be replaced, parapets upgraded, and it needs to be repainted. An investigation is also required to establish the condition of its cable anchors and suspension chains.
The bridge was constructed in 1820 and is the oldest suspension bridge still carrying road traffic in the world. It is also a Category A listed building in Scotland and a Grade I listed building in England.
In September the bridge was closed to road traffic to carry out masonry inspections, a paintwork investigation, strain gauge monitoring and handrail works.
NCC cabinet member for environment and local services Glen Sanderson said: “We are confident that by May we will have developed the strongest bid possible for submission to the next round, so we can secure the funds needed to deliver this ambitious and exciting project.”
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