Sunderland river crossing finally gets go ahead

May 20 2015  

Sunderland river crossing finally gets go ahead
Work starts soon to build a cable stayed road bridge in Sunderland, two years after a previous and more elaborate design was scrapped after the project was deemed to be unaffordable.
Contracts for the £117M New Wear bridge have been signed and a contracting joint venture of Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction is about to mobilise on site.
The three span bridge will rise to a height of 115m and link the districts of Castletown with Pallion, improving connections between the A19, the city’s centre and port.
The bridge pylon will rise twice as high as the Millennium Bridge in nearby Gateshead and be taller than Big Ben in London. Construction is set to complete within three years.
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson said: “As a piece of infrastructure it is one of the region’s biggest civil engineering projects and an investment that is going to help create more jobs.”
Government has agreed to fund £82.5M and the City Council will provide £35M. 
In July 2013 Sunderland City Council voted that a previous “landmark” design with an ‘X’ shaped pylon was unaffordable. At the time Councillor Watson had said that the council would review its plans and work within its means.
Bridge consultant Simon Bourne, a critic of the former design, welcomed the new design. “Hopefully the latest version will deliver a scheme that is well engineered with good integrity,” he said. “If that is the case then the cost will almost certainly be acceptable.”
(Photo: Sunderland City Council)

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