High Level Bridge – 7 May 2008

During yesterday’s walk, I had a good look at the soon-to-reopen High Level Bridge. It’s been over three years since it was closed to traffic, and a little less than that since the footpath was also closed, so it’s been ages since I had a look at it. Back then, I didn’t have the Canon 30D, and more importantly, I was waiting for the first new Doctor Who series to start. And the bridge itself has changed, too. In place of the drab, dingy, and really quite naff grey paint is a lovely stone colour, which if old pictures are to be believed, is more akin to its original appearance. Apparently English Heritage, the body that oversees listed structures like the bridge, insisted on that. And they were quite right, too. It looks so much brighter and cleaner, and generally better than it has in decades. Lots of them, I suspect. It was already dingy when I arrived in the north east over 25 years ago, and it’s only had patch repairs during that time.

But now it’s been properly restored, and should be good for another 70 years or so. Road traffic will be southbound buses only, as the requirement for new safety barriers has reduced the already narrow roadway to the point where two-way traffic would be impossible, and it’s much too long for alternating traffic controlled by lights. But that’s no bad thing – moving buses back to the High Level Bridge will reduce the rush hour jams on the Tyne Bridge, and make bus journeys a little quicker, too.

Anyway, there’s a selection of photos in the album, and I’ll get some more when the bridge finally opens.