Six cars or 200 people can be carried across the bridge over the River Tees
More than £100,000 has been awarded to help develop plans for Middlesbrough's famous Transporter Bridge.
The council wants to install lifts and new walkways to improve access to the Grade-II listed structure - one of only a handful of its kind still working.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) granted the cash after the local authority lodged a bid for £2m.
It means the proposal has now progressed to the second stage of the HLF's application process.
Ivor Crowther, head of Heritage Lottery Fund North East, said: "Middlesbrough's Transporter Bridge is an iconic structure, both defining the surrounding industrial heartland and acting as a major tourist attraction.
"We are pleased to be able to give our initial support for the council's ambitious restoration plans, particularly as preparations for the bridge's centenary in 2011 begin in earnest."
The 225ft (69m) high bridge is one of Teesside's most recognisable landmarks and is seen as a symbol of the area's industrial heritage.
It uses a gondola on rails to carry vehicles and passengers across the River Tees.