Engineering project complete

Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher announced the end of seven years of engineering works on the High Level Bridge between Newcastle and Gateshead, following a £40m investment.

To celebrate the event Coucher was joined by David Sterry, chief executive at May Gurney, the main contractor on the project; John Shipley, leader of Newcastle City Council; and Mick Henry, leader of Gateshead Council.

Coucher said: ‘The High Level Bridge is a unique structure. Solutions have included supporting existing beams with new ones to take the load of the roadway and undertaking ground breaking testing and research into the strength of the cast iron.

May Gurney’s managing director John Wilkinson said: ‘The scheme has been highly complex due to logistical constraints and careful programme management using local expertise has been imperative to its success. At the peak of the project we employed upwards of 200 people, while working a 12-day fortnight with both day and night shifts.’

Shipley added: ‘It is important to have it back in use to give priority to passenger transport and to improve journey times for bus passengers.’