The repainting of the Newport Bridge is under way but it will remain closed to vehicles for three weeks longer than expected.
The repainting of the 80-year-old Grade II listed structure has begun following the completion of a deep clean of more than 50,000 square metres of metal.
But the cleaning process has revealed further areas of corrosion and damage that are in need of extensive repairs.
The A1032 across Newport Bridge will now remain closed to vehicles until Monday, 27 October to allow the repair works to take place.
It will then reopen to vehicles, though lane restrictions will remain in place while repainting continues.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, Councillor Mike Smith, said: “Newport Bridge is a Grade II listed structure and an important part of our highways network and we have a duty to maintain it.
“We know that the closure of the bridge is causing traffic congestion and appreciate that this is very frustrating for everybody affected. We are sorry for the inconvenience this is causing.
“It is good to see the repainting itself is now under way with around 60 workers on site. The necessary repairs can be made while this goes on.
“There will be lane restrictions when the bridge reopens to vehicles so there may be queuing at peak times. However, we will make sure that these restrictions are not in place throughout the Christmas period.
“Once complete, this imposing landmark will not only look great but will be safe for use with minimal disruption for many years to come.”
Access for cyclists and pedestrians will be maintained by keeping at least one footpath open throughout the works. It is anticipated that the bridge will be fully repainted by early next year.
Newport Bridge was opened in 1934 as a “lifting bridge” which lifted horizontally between two towers supported on wire ropes at each end of the span.
Teesside iron and steel works, Dorman Long, fabricated the steel for the bridge.
Originally 12 men were employed to man the bridge around the clock and during the 1940s and 50s an average of 800 vessels per year would pass beneath it.