Bridge to close for weekend works

A BUSY Morpeth gateway will be closed overnight at weekends for about a month.

Telford Bridge, which is one of the busiest junctions in Northumberland, will close from 11pm to 6am on Saturdays and Sundays for up to five weeks.

The closures will allow investigation work to be carried out on the structure of the bridge and will start this weekend.

Warning notices have already been posted on the bridge to alert drivers to the closures and a diversion route will be in place on the A1, with signs to advise motorists of the situation.

Members of Morpeth Town Council’s Planning and Transport Committee have expressed concern about the timing of the closures.

Chairman Ken Brown said: “Clearly this is work that has to be done, but the hours don’t seem to be satisfactory at either end.

“The problem is I don’t think we are being consulted, just informed.”

And Coun David Parker said: “I would have preferred Friday/Saturday closures. I think that movement of cars first thing on a Saturday morning is far less than on the other days.”

However, Coun David Clark disagreed. “The hours don’t seem bad. It seems a very sensible time to me.”

Coun Nic Best raised concern about traffic using other routes in residential areas, and he said that temporary taxi ranks should be provided at each end of the bridge to make it easier for revellers to get home.

“If we have a lot of people wanting to get out of the area on a Saturday evening, is there a need to have temporary taxi ranks at each side of the bridge over that period?” he said.

“Maybe they could use the Terrace car park or Castle Square so that if people come to need a taxi they can get one.”

Coun Brown said the idea was sensible.

“This is effectively closing the town centre on those occasions at 11 o’clock at night. It is making it more difficult for people and it is going to have an impact on the evening economy so I would support that suggestion,” he said.

The proposal will be put to Northumberland County Council for consideration, along with members’ concerns about the timing of the closures.