Norham Road Bridge


The new Norham Road Bridge opened to all traffic on Friday 10 August 2018.

The demolition and reconstruction of the bridge formed the third – and final - part of the A1058 Coast Road Improvement Scheme.

The first two parts of the scheme (the widening of Beach Road and the replacement of the Billy Mill roundabout with a signalised junction) were delivered for the council by its partner, Capita; the new Norham Road Bridge was delivered by Sisk Ltd.

For more information about the wider scheme and the benefits it will deliver, please click here.

The old bridge was more than 50 years old and in need of urgent attention; the new bridge will have an expected lifespan of 120 years.

It was originally proposed that the work would be carried out in two halves enabling one half of the bridge to remain open to vehicles.
This would have needed the introduction of four-way temporary traffic lights resulting in significant congestion along Norham Road and surrounding areas.

Instead, the work was completed in one operation, with pedestrian and cyclist access maintained by retaining a footpath across the Coast Road. With the bridge removed, no traffic lights were needed.

Constructing the new bridge in one operation meant there was less that could go wrong, making it safer for the public and the workforce.

We fully understand that these works did inconvenience residents and businesses and we apologise for the disruption; however, with the new bridge now open, we hope all users will begin to feel the benefits of the new arrangement.

Please note, however, that – as is common on most large engineering projects – there may be some minor snagging and/or remedial works that need to be carried out in the next few weeks.

Any work that may have potential to disrupt journeys or cause inconvenience will be publicised in advance. You may like to subscribe to our e-bulletin service to receive any such alerts (see below for more information) - and we have included the latest bulletins for your information.

The old bridge closed to traffic on Thursday 7 June 2017 prior to demolition - and the new bridge opened on Friday August 10 2018.

Related documents


A major milestone in the scheme to replace Norham Road Bridge was reached at the beginning of July 2017.

With the A1058 Coast Road closed beneath the bridge, contractors moved in with their heavy plant at 8pm on Saturday July 1st to begin the process of demolishing the old bridge.

Please see below for a time-lapse video of the bridge demolition:

Image Gallery

Increased safety

Building the bridge in one operation was far simpler and safer than doing it in two phases; there was less that could go wrong. While structural surveys showed that the bridge could operate on one half only, there remained a risk of the bridge failing when work began. Safety issues apart, bridge failure would have led to delays while alternative plans were put in place to demolish and reconstruct the bridge in one operation.

Reduced congestion

Traffic with bridge retained (four-way traffic lights)

The original plan – to demolish and rebuild each half of the bridge in turn – would have allowed traffic to continue using it, but under four-way traffic signals throughout.

As you can see in the first video below, our traffic modelling made it clear that this would create huge congestion issues.

There would be long traffic queues on Norham Road in both directions – as far as the junctions with Wallsend Road and A191 New York Road - leading to significant rat-running north and south of the bridge.

Access to and from the shops and businesses on Norham Road would be severely impacted and access to Norham Road for local residents in particular would be extremely difficult.

Traffic with bridge removed (no lights)

The second video shows the reduced congestion with the bridge removed and diversions in place.

The revised scheme, although still causing some delays and inconvenience, allows better access to Norham Road for local residents – and better access to and from the shops and businesses in the immediate area.

As part of the revised scheme, the Norham Road and A1058 Coast Road slip road junctions have been altered so that priority is now given to through-traffic on the slip roads. This allows unopposed turning from the slip roads onto Norham Road.

Benefits of scheme

  • The new bridge will have a lifespan of around 120 years.
  • The new bridge will have two northbound and two southbound lanes, which will increase the bridge’s capacity.
  • We will install traffic signals at both slip road junctions, to make it easier for vehicles, particularly buses, to access Norham Road. This will reduce journey times and improve public transport reliability. We will link these signals to those by Tesco for improved co-ordination of traffic movements.
  • We will increase waiting capacity for vehicles on Norham Road that are turning right onto the slip roads. This will mean traffic going straight ahead is less likely to be stuck behind turning vehicles.
  • We will introduce new signalised pedestrian crossing facilities on A1058 Coast Road entry and exit slip roads. This will make it easier and safer for residents to cross the road.
  • We will introduce a Toucan crossing across Norham Road North to enhance the Coast Road Cycle Route for the benefit of cyclists.
  • We will widen the slip roads to provide sufficient space for two vehicles side-by-side. This will further reduce the traffic queues on the slip roads.

Frequently asked questions

The complexity of the demolition and reconstruction required going out to tender to secure a specialist contractor, which altered the timeframe. The contract has been awarded to Sisk Lagan, the company currently delivering the major improvement works at the A19-A1058 Silverlink Junction.
It was always considered; however, it was impractical as the original works programme involved the bridge work overlapping with the junction improvements at Billy Mill. Because the start of the bridge works is now later than expected and works at Billy Mill junction are largely complete, this option was able to be explored.
Billy Mill junction has been designed to cope with the 6,000 additional vehicles that are projected to use it each day by 2029. However, we recognise that more vehicles may be turning right into Regent Terrace than would ordinarily be the case. Consequently, we have increased the green ‘turn-right time’ into Regent Terrace to compensate for additional traffic using the diversion. As part of the improvement works at Billy Mill junction, the Regent Terrace approach to Billy Mill has been widened to remove the conflict between filter lane traffic and those going straight ahead.        
The A1058 Coast Road westbound off slip experiences the least congestion of all the approaches to Silverlink and is therefore more capable of accommodating additional traffic. We also know that A19 traffic has been using Norham Road to avoid Silverlink junction. With Norham Road Bridge demolished, this traffic will be forced back onto the A19, significantly reducing the number of vehicles impacted by the diversion.         
Initially, three quarters of the bridge has been demolished, leaving the remaining footpath at the western side to be used by pedestrians and cyclists. This has been strengthened and is completely safe for continued use by pedestrians and cyclists. When the main part of the bridge is rebuilt, this will be opened to pedestrians and cyclists while the remaining quarter is then demolished and rebuilt.

We have liaised with bus operators and they agree that the reliability of their services can be better maintained through the demolition and reconstruction of the bridge in one operation.

Priority has been given to through-traffic on the slip roads, which means Coast Road bus services can cross Norham Road with less delay. The 310 and W3 bus services that would usually cross Norham Road Bridge continue to operate - but with diversions and some timetable alterations. More information is available from Nexus:

Telephone: (0191) 202 0747

We do not believe the work at Wallsend Road Bridge will have a significant impact. There are no traffic signals at Wallsend Road Bridge and traffic will continue to flow in both directions via a contraflow.

Contact us

If you would like get in touch with us about the scheme, please contact:

Telephone: (0191) 643 6500