Tyne Bridge Inspection


The Tyne Bridge in Newcastle spans the River Tyne and connects Newcastle with nearby Gateshead. The bridge, which officially opened on the 10 October 1928, is a characteristic feature of Tyneside. It is 162 m long and sits 26m above the river.

Newcastle City Council is refurbishing the Tyne Bridge and therefore required an inspection before commencing work. Colas, who are carried out that final inspection, contacted us for a site survey to determine the best way to access the bridge.

The challenges

The Bridge parapet measures 23m from the ground, so most of the survey is very straightforward. There are however two tricky areas to consider:

  1. On the West facing elevation, access was from the road and required reaching over a path (2m), grass (5.5m) and trees (7.5m). That meant we needed 17m of outreach and 18.5m in height.
  2. The North facing elevation faces the Tyne so we had to be accessed from the east-facing elevation.

Our solution

Following our site survey, we decided that our Ruthmann 33 metre truck-mounted platform was the best option for accessing the south tower. The machine also required protection with traffic management as we had to close the entire lane and footpath.

For the north-facing elevation, our Ruthmann 33m provided the height and reach needed for access but with only one person (<120kg) in the cage. Happily, this fitted in with our Covid-19 guidelines of operating the machine from the ground.

As for the east-facing elevation, we sited the 33m platform on the east-facing elevation and telescoped the boom out to its maximum to see as much as we could.


“Newcastle City Council have used Warren Access on many occasions over the years. The latest was using the Ruthmann T330 33m to access the Abutment Towers of the Tyne Bridge. The machine managed to get to all the areas we needed to access, safely and within the Traffic Management time constraints.

All the Operators at Warren Access are knowledgeable about the machines, helpful and are always willing to put themselves out to get the job done. Even on wintry freezing cold days!”

“Knowledgeable, helpful, always willing to put themselves out”
WA Star
Heather Wales Structures Engineer, Newcastle City Council

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