The Union Chain Bridge on the Scotland-England border was built by Captain Samuel Brown in 1820 and is said to be the world's oldest operational suspension bridge still carrying vehicles.
A second-stage funding bid has been made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). In March 2018, a development grant of US$460,000 was awarded following a first-round NLHF bid by Northumberland County Council, Scottish Borders Council, Museums Northumberland, community group Friends of the Union Chain Bridge.
The development work has included detailed investigations to assess the condition of every element of the bridge and how best to undertake the conservation and repair works.
This development work is now complete and so the project is now seeking grant funding to support the implementation of the US$10.3 million delivery phase. It has submitted a second round bid to the NLHF for US$4 million. A decision on the bid is expected in September.
The councils have committed match funding totalling US$4.3 million towards the scheme, with other fundraising activities continuing to be progressed by the Friends of Union Chain Bridge in support of the project.
Councillor Glen Sanderson, Northumberland County Council’s cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “What’s abundantly clear is how loved this bridge is, not just locally, but nationally and internationally and we’ve had support from across the world as we’ve worked to get to this point.”
Councillor Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, added: “If successful, this project will conserve and raise awareness of the internationally significant Union Chain Bridge, and celebrate its historical and engineering importance for its landmark 200th anniversary.”