A vision of Sunderland’s future

MODEL BRIDGE:   Coun. Leader Paul Watson with plans for new bridge.
MODEL BRIDGE: Coun. Leader Paul Watson with plans for new bridge.
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WEARSIDERS can get a glimpse of Sunderland’s future in a new display.

A scale model of the proposed new Wear bridge and landscaping has been put on display in the city council’s new Customer Service Centre next to the City Library in Fawcett Street.

MODEL BRIDGE:   Coun. Leader Paul Watson with plans for new bridge.

MODEL BRIDGE: Coun. Leader Paul Watson with plans for new bridge.

The model gives Wearsiders an idea of how city leaders hope Sunderland will look as they await the outcome of a fresh funding bid to make the dream vision a reality.

Council leader Paul Watson said: “This is a very necessary project that can help the city’s economy and increase our prosperity.

“The New Wear Crossing is a functional, regeneration symbol for not just Sunderland but the rest of the region.

“There’s been talk for a long time that Sunderland has needed a new major road crossing and it’s an issue that hasn’t gone away.

“It would help open up more land for development on the south bank of the river and add to the vibrancy of our city.”

The council submitted a “best and final” bid for funding to help build the crossing and its approach roads to the Department for Transport (DfT) earlier this month.

The bid for £82.5million is now part of a DfT £600million development pool, which is earmarked for transport projects which would help drive economic growth and provide jobs.

The council had to submit the second bid after the project’s future was thrown into doubt when the scheme was one of many put under review by the Coalition Government at the end of last year.

The Labour Government had earmarked £98million towards the new bridge in 2008, subject to further conditions being met.

The council and One North East were prepared to stump up the extra cash needed to build the bridge.

After the bridge was caught up in the spending review, the Government invited fresh applications for transport funding bids. The city council confirmed last December that it would bid again.

The new funding bid includes revised cost estimates that have changed approach road layouts and landscaping on the scheme.

It was submitted on September 9 and the DfT expects to make a funding decision by the end of the year

Bid documents for the New Wear Crossing can be seen at www.newsunderlandbridge.com and comments can be sent to development.pool@dft.gsi.gov.uk until October 14.

Super-route

PLANNING permission for the new landmark bridge and its approach roads was approved in 2010.

It will form the centrepiece of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor super-route, designed to improve access between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland.

It will also support regeneration projects such as the Groves, Vaux and Farringdon Row sites on the riverside and the city centre as a whole.

The bridge consists of two curving steel towers of 140m and 190m high. This would make it the tallest bridge in the country.