Inspection works can now be carried out to assess the condition of the bridge and complete detailed costing and project plans, ahead of full restoration works later this year.
Central government funding of £35.3m was confirmed earlier this month as part of a £41.4 million bid to the Department of Transport for restoration of the Tyne Bridge, together with the Central Motorway.
Cllr John McElroy, cabinet member for environment and transport at Gateshead Council, said: “It’s fantastic to have the main contractor appointed so rapidly on a project that means a lot to everyone in the North East.
“The Tyne Bridge is a symbol of our whole region and we look forward to seeing the whole structure rejuvenated and back to its best.”
The first phase of the scheme will see up to 14 weeks of inspection and assessment works carried out on the bridge to determine the scope of maintenance required. This process has commenced, and a series of site-based investigations will get underway shortly.
Steve Conn, Pre-Construction Director at Esh, said: “As a regional contractor, we are delighted to be appointed to restore the iconic Tyne Bridge, marking the first major maintenance programme delivered on this structure in over two decades.
“However, we are aware of the sensitive nature of these works to both road and pedestrian users, and the kittiwakes which nest on the bridge. Minimising disruption for users as well as protecting the kittiwakes will be at the forefront of this project both in the initial assessment process and throughout the physical repair works.
“We want to emphasise that we are choosing methods of assessment which will minimise the need for traffic management measures and reduce the impact on users, for example, utilising Point Cloud investigation technology and rope access methods to measure and survey the bridge.”