PLANS to repair Newport's Transporter Bridge and build a new visitor centre have rocketed by around £5 million after two contractors "followed each other into administration".

The two main contractors were hired to repair the famous bridge and build a new visitor centre - but their entering administration last year meant the contracts had to be retendered.

New bids submitted were for substantially higher sums, owing to "worsening market conditions to the effects of the pandemic and EU exit", Newport City Council documents show.

The projected cost of the visitor centre rose by 18 per cent and the Transporter Bridge repair price doubled "from £4,668,243 to £9,342,010".

The total project cost has subsequently risen from £11.9 million to £16.9 million, according to a new council report.

READ MORE: Contractor behind Transporter Bridge restoration goes into administration

The National Lottery Heritage Fund was "sympathetic" to the situation and has agreed to give an extra £2 million to the project, bringing its total contribution now to £10.7 million, the council said. But that still leaves a nearly £3 million hole in the budget, which the local authority's cabinet is this week expected to agree to underwrite.

South Wales Argus: An artist's impression of the planned visitor centre at the Transporter Bridge in Newport. Picture: Creative CoreAn artist's impression of the planned visitor centre at the Transporter Bridge in Newport. Picture: Creative Core

The council notes "additional funding is being sought from other partners but this has not been confirmed to date", and time is of the essence if further hikes in costs are to be avoided.

"If this project is to proceed, it is therefore necessary for the council to underwrite this figure," the report said. "There is an urgent need for a decision as contractors will not hold their prices indefinitely and any further re-tendering exercise is expected to see further increases in price."

READ MORE: In pictures: Newport's iconic Transporter Bridge through the years

In fact, the tender process for the current proposed contracts has expired "but the contractors are willing to honour those at this time - but with a significant risk that they may need to change again as materials prices change".

Despite the rocketing costs, the council admits repair work is "much needed" at the Transporter Bridge, which has important historical value to the city and is "the most significant structure on the Newport skyline".

And there is also the risk that around £12 million of external funding for the project will be lost unless the council agrees to plug the funding gap.

The council has proposed its cabinet - which meets on Thursday - accepts the new lotter grant funding and agrees to underwrite the remaining figure of £2.922 million.