Fly-tippers have delayed vital work to repair a 50-year-old bridge.
North Tyneside Council had been set to begin work on the A193 Wallsend Road Bridge this month.
But contractors have discovered a quantity of fly-tipped asbestos on the waggonway beneath the bridge in North Shields.
Work had been due to get underway to introduce off-peak lane closures on the bridge whilst work was carried out on the central reservation.
However, during preparatory works, a quantity of asbestos was found amongst other waste materials dumped by unknown fly-tippers.
The waggonway is a popular route for pedestrians and cyclists so the removal of the asbestos is being treated as a priority.
From Tuesday, work will begin to remove the asbestos in a safe and controlled manner – and this is likely to take around two weeks.
To avoid risk to waggonway users, the path will be closed each day in both directions between 9am and 4pm.
During this 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 both ways.
Coun John Harrison, cabinet member for Housing and Transport, said: “We wish to apologise for the inconvenience this closure will cause to the many walkers and cyclists who use the waggonway, but we hope they understand that removing this dangerous substance quickly and safely is our main priority.”
Once all traces of asbestos have been safely removed, work will resume on the road bridge.
Work is now expected to begin during week commencing February 20.