Next week’s meeting of the executive committee of Middlesbrough Council in northern England will consider a report on the bridge, which has been closed and cordoned off since August 2019.
The report recommends that the executive committee approves immediate capital funding to carry out the essential structural repair works to ensure the bridge remains structurally stable.
Initial repairs required to the bridge were identified in a special inspection carried out by Rapid Consultants and a follow-up principal inspection carried out by Atkins.
The Transporter Bridge is Grade II* Listed with Historic England and was opened in 1911. It has three spans – a 174m-long main span crossing the River Tees and two 42.6m-long cantilever spans, both of which are tied into the ground via tensioned cables and ground anchorages.
The supported gondola carried vehicles and pedestrians, connecting A178 Port Clarence Road to Ferry Road.
Following an inspection of the cord angles undertaken by consultant TIS in the spring of 2019, the bridge has remained closed and cordoned off since early August 2019.
The completed report of Atkins' principal inspection has not yet been published but the council has a high-level summary of the findings along with information on the anticipated costs for repair.
Work will be needed even if the bridge is to remain closed to vehicles.
The report suggests that keeping the bridge purely as a visitor attraction could be the long-term position and would maintain the structure as a visual icon for Teesside. However, it would require consultation with, and the subsequent approval of, Historic England as the gondola would no longer be suspended from the bridge and this may affect its status as a listed structure.
In order for the bridge to remain open as a visitor attraction, structural repairs and assessments would be needed at a cost of at least US$2 million. Work costing between US$3.1 million and US$5.9 million would be needed for the bridge to reopen as a means of transport for vehicles and pedestrians, the report says. Provision would also have to be made for maintenance costs in either situation.