11 May - Wet weather delays Transporter re-opening
The wettest spring weather in a century has delayed the completion of important repair work to the Transporter Bridge
The wettest spring weather in a century has delayed the completion of important repair work to the Transporter Bridge.
It is now hoped the iconic Tees crossing point will be back up and running on Monday, May 21, a week later than originally intended.
The bridge was closed in March following the discovery of cracks in rail tracks on the upper booms.
A full survey revealed a total of eight cracks in seven rails, and work began to establish if replacements could be made to order.
Further analysis revealed that welding repairs would offer a more cost-effective solution, and that work is currently being carried out, alongside the replacement of more than 20 wheels which run along the rails carrying the gondola across the river. The decision was taken to fit a new set of wheels to minimise the stress on the repaired rails.
Unfortunately progress has been slowed by the unusually heavy rain over recent days, and a period of testing will also be required before the bridge can re-open.
Councillor Nicky Walker, Middlesbrough Council's Executive Member for Transport, said: "We've done everything we can to find an effective long-term solution, but the weather is one unpredictable factor over which we have no control.
"The Transporter has been around longer than most of us, and even it hasn't seen this much rain in April and May in its first 100 years.
"I'd like to apologise again for any inconvenience caused - we know how important the bridge is to people and we hope to have it open again on Monday, May 21, weather permitting."
Throughout the closure a free bus service is operating between the Transporter and Port Clarence.
Monday to Friday starting from Middlesbrough at 8.30am (thereafter leaving on the half hour), leaving from Port Clarence at 9am (thereafter on the hour) until noon.
The service resumes from Middlesbrough at 1.45pm (2.45pm and 3.45pm), leaving Port Clarence at 2.15pm (3.15pm and 4.15pm).
On Saturdays the service leaves Middlesbrough at 9.30am (thereafter leaving on the half hour), setting off from Port Clarence at 10am (thereafter on the hour ) with the last trip from Port Clarence at 3pm.