New black and white look for New Wear Crossing

Artist's impression of the new Wear Crossing.

Artist's impression of the new Wear Crossing.

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Sunderland’s new bridge is to be painted with black and white stripes.

The New Wear Crossing will get its paint job as part of the fight back against rogue drones.

The final day of the New Wear Crossing deck launch.

The final day of the New Wear Crossing deck launch.

Concerns about sightseers flying unlicensed drones over the construction site have been raised since work began.

Now project chiefs have unveiled plans to install sophisticated jamming equipment in the pylon – but regulations mean it must be painted black and white as a visible warning.

Bosses have set aside an extra £1,042,017 to cover the cost of the work, which will create a 200-metre ‘no-go’ area around the bridge’s towering main pylon.

The system will use sophisticated technology, developed by Dutch engineers, to distinguish between ‘friendly’ and unauthorised aircraft.

There have been concerns about unlicensed drones flying over the construction site.

There have been concerns about unlicensed drones flying over the construction site.

Prof Phord van Transeet, of Rotterdam University’s Bridge Building Institute of South Holland, said the system would create an invisible electronic ‘fence’ around the site.

“We originally trialled a system which caused the drones to shut down completely and fall out of the sky, which was fine in the lab – but turned out not to be such a good idea in practice,” he said.

“The new system simply prevents them from entering a certain area of airspace– but for legal reasons, any structure protected by it must be clearly marked as such.

“We asked one of our engineers to come up with a universally recognised symbol - and he’s a season ticket holder with Achilles ‘29, so he suggested black and white stripes.

“I appreciate Sunderland fans might be happier if he had supported PSV.”

The system has been approved by national drone users’ organisation, the Radio-controlled Aircraft Fliers’ Association.

Rafa’s Benny Tess said: “We think this idea is a championship idea.”

The look will only last until work on the project is finished – due to be next spring – and the bridge will be back to normal in time for the arrival of the Tall Ships Race in July 2018.