Planned repairs to the A193 Wallsend Road Bridge have been delayed after asbestos was discovered nearby.
The substance was found near the waggonway beneath the bridge, which is a popular route for pedestrians and cyclists, so its removal is being treated as a priority.
North Tyneside Council said the asbestos in the area beneath the bridge poses no danger to pedestrians and cyclists while undisturbed. It is only during its careful removal that the public needs to be excluded from the immediate area – hence the closure of the waggonway is only necessary during the contractors’ work period.
A specialist contractor began work yesterday to remove the asbestos in a safe and controlled manner and this is likely to take around two weeks.
To avoid any risk to waggonway users, the path beneath the bridge will be closed at all times until the removal work is completed.
The council haso apologised for the inconvenience the waggonway closure is likely to cause to those who use it, both as a route to and from work and for leisure, but hopes all users understand the need to remove the asbestos quickly and safely.
During the closure, southbound pedestrians and cyclists will be diverted along Mindrum Terrace to a lights-controlled crossing at the south end of Norham Road.
From there they will be directed across Wallsend Road and Waterville Road using the existing pedestrian refuges, before picking up the waggonway again on Burdon Street.
Northbound pedestrians and cyclists will be able to follow this route in reverse – and the diversion will be clearly signposted in both directions.
A Google Map showing the waggonway closure and alternative route is available to view at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1sBFNpfkO8EiemNr2xEY-qpUP3FE&usp=sharing
Once all traces of asbestos have been safely removed, the waggonway will be fully re-opened and work will resume on the road bridge repairs.
The A193 Wallsend Road Bridge, near the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate, is suffering concrete fatigue after five decades in service and requires major improvements.