A major stretch of the A1 is set to be closed overnight this weekend as two huge cranes move in to remove a footbridge over the road.
The two cranes will be brought in to take out the North Dene pedestrian bridge over the A1 near to the Angel of the North in Gateshead, as part of the ongoing improvement works.
It is part of the project to widen the A1 from three to four lanes between junctions 65 and 67 on the southbound carriageway and three lanes between junctions 65 and 67 on the northbound carriageway.
A 95-tonne crane will be set up on the northbound carriageway while a larger, 200-tonne crane will operate on the southbound side to remove the bridge.
The road is set to be closed from 8pm on Saturday 24 September to 6am the following morning with engineers planning to remove the whole bridge in one night.
However, the project may be delayed if weather and wind conditions cause problems, and so the road may be closed again from 8pm on Sunday 25 September to 6am the next morning if works don’t go to plan.
National Highways Project Manager Helen Burrow said: “To enable us to start widening the carriageway, North Dene Bridge needs to come down. In order to do that safely we need to close the A1 in both directions between junctions 65 and 66.
“This will give us the space we need to mobilise the cranes and lift the bridge on to trailers in sections to be taken away for recycling.
“We’d like to thank road users for their patience while we close the road, and also pedestrians who will be without a bridge while we carry out this vital scheme, which will reduce congestion, improve safety and boost the regional economy.”
The A1 northbound will be closed from junction 65 (Birtley) to junction 66 (Eighton Lodge) with traffic diverted off the A1 at junction 65 along the A194(M) and the A184 around Gateshead to rejoin the A1 at junction 69 (Gateshead Quays).
Any traffic intending to join the A1 at junctions 66, 67 or 68 to head north will be able to do so.
The southbound carriageway will be closed from junction 69 (Gateshead Quays) to junction 65 (Birtley). Through traffic will be diverted via the A184 and A194(M).
Anyone wanting to join the A1 southbound at junctions 68, 67 or 66 will be diverted onto the northbound carriageway to Junction 69 where they will be able to pick up the diversion route.
A new bridge is set to be installed next summer when works to widen the road are completed, with pedestrians only able to use the Longbank underpass until then.
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