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Teesside’s iconic Transporter Bridge is set to re-open next month following important repair work.
The bridge was closed in March following the discovery of cracks in rail tracks on the upper booms.
A full survey revealed a total of eight cracks in seven rails, and work began to establish if replacements could be made to order.
Further analysis revealed that welding repairs would offer a more cost-effective solution, and that work is now due to be carried out over the coming weeks.
Preparatory work is also being carried out ahead of the installation of the Transporter’s new lifts which are being installed as part of a major Heritage Lottery Fund project to enhance the bridge as a major regional visitor attraction.
If the repairs are successful, it is hoped the Transporter will return to normal service from Monday, May 14.
Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council’s Executive Member for Transport, said: “The Transporter celebrated its centenary last October, and problems will arise with any structure of this age and complexity.
“But we know how important the bridge is to people, and every effort is being made to find a long-term solution.
“I’d like to apologise for any inconvenience caused, and assure people that we will have the Transporter back up and running as soon as possible.”
Throughout the closure a free bus service is operating between the Transporter and Port Clarence.
Monday to Friday starting from Middlesbrough at 8.30am (thereafter leaving on the half hour), leaving from Port Clarence at 9am (thereafter on the hour) until noon.
The service resumes from Middlesbrough at 1.45pm (2.45pm and 3.45pm), leaving Port Clarence at 2.15pm (3.15pm and 4.15pm).
On Saturdays the service leaves Middlesbrough at 9.30am (thereafter leaving on the half hour), setting off from Port Clarence at 10am (thereafter on the hour ) with the last trip from Port Clarence at 3pm.