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England and Scotland re-connected | BUILDING MAGAZINE

England and Scotland re-connected

As the Union Chain Bridge is re-assembled over the River Tweed England and Scotland will once again be re-united.

The suspension bridge which is thought to be 201 years old and runs between Fishwick in Berwickshire and Horncliffe in Northumberland has been refurbished and is now ready to be re-assembled.

Northumberland County Council appointed Spencer Group to carry out the £10.5m refurbishment. After dismantling, and then re-assembling, the main suspension chains are being re-erected following inspection and repairs.

Re-erecting the bridge will be a very slow process, involving 2,000 metres of steel, and having taken three days to hoist the first chain into place. There are 11 more chains to erect and then work can begin on re-installing the deck hangers and finally start to rebuild the bridge deck.

This Union Chain Bridge, built by Captain Samuel Brown, is the oldest operational chain suspension bridge in the world which still carries vehicles.

The Spencer team spent last autumn inspecting, repairing and refurbishing all the components which make up the bridge.

The restoration and reconstruction work will take a little while longer but it is hoped to re-open the bridge in late Spring 2022.

John Riddle, Northumberland Councy Council cabinet member for local services said: “This is a further very welcome milestone seeing this famous structure start to be put back together. We have been able to retain many original parts but have ensured the bridge will be able to fulfil its main purpose and it is most exciting to see the bridge taking shape again”.

Restoring an important crossing point between the Scottish Borders and Northumberland is an important project according to Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders councillor.