There will be a full road closure in place as significant work takes place on New Elvet Bridge, lasting up to 14 months.
Linking the east and west sides of Durham, the bridge carries an average of 17,000 vehicles a day each year.
It was constructed in 1975 to relieve traffic from the adjacent Old Elvet Bridge and the market place as part of the Durham City Relief Road project, and the repairs are crucial for the long-term future of the bridge.
The project will cost £7.5 million to complete. However, Durham County Council has been awarded £4.238 million towards the repairs following a successful bid to the Department for Transport.
Cllr Brian Stephens said: “Although there will be major disruption while these works are carried out, it is essential that this work is undertaken. We would encourage people to avoid travelling through the city during peak travel times if possible and to plan extra time for their journeys. Hopefully, with more people now working from home, it will be easier to manage the delays and disruption during peak times.
“Alongside the improvements to Milburngate and plans for the bus station, these significant repairs to New Elvet Bridge will help to bring about many benefits to Durham, and we will still look forward to welcoming more visitors once restrictions start to ease, and we start to recover from the effects of the coronavirus.”
The works to New Elvet Bridge will see the lifting and supporting of the central section of the bridge whilst work is undertaken on the deck joints, along with extensive concrete repairs. The bridge deck will also be waterproofed and resurfaced to extend the life of the bridge.
In addition, drainage systems will be improved and the protective coatings to the concrete surfaces will be renewed, giving waterproof protection to the structure and improving the appearance of the bridge.
If works aren’t carried out now, more extensive and prolonged repairs will be required in the future.
It is also hoped that the repairs will help to enable future developments and improvements in and around the city.
Works are expected to start on 20 July and alternative routes through the city should be planned. Recommended diversions from different parts of the county are available on the council’s website: www.durham.gov.uk/newelvet
The council will also be making direct contact with residents and businesses in the vicinity of the works, in the coming weeks.