These stunning new pictures show how Sunderland’s new Wear Crossing will look after dark.
The images have been released by the project team as scheme takes a major step forward, with work on the central towers’ foundations to start within weeks.
The huge cofferdam - a large steel watertight structure within the river - is nearing completion and will be drained after the Easter break, creating a safe area that will allow the team to work beneath the water level.
The foundations to the main bridge pylon will be built within the cofferdam, while the bridge supports on either side of the river will also be put into place, ready for the positioning of the bridge deck in the summer.
Sunderland City Council Leader Coun Paul Watson was excited to see work progressing: “The people of Sunderland have waited a long time for this bridge, so it will be wonderful to see the foundations getting underway in the river,” he said.
“A lot of work has already been done, particularly on the south side of the river, to clear the site and prepare the foundations for the approach road, but work will now be stepping up in the river itself and on the north side.
“The benefits of the bridge are going to be significant. Crucially, it will lead to investment in the city, will see land along the south of the river regenerated, and will reduce journey times for motorists. It’s been a long time coming, but I firmly believe it will be a bridge to a better future.”
The impressive 105m A-frame pylon will be in place before the end of the year. It will be floated from Belgium on a giant barge before being slowly hoisted into position on the river.
Twice as high as Nelson’s Column and taller than Big Ben’s clock tower, it will arrive into the Port of Sunderland and then be slowly transported up the River Wear in a carefully planned phase of work.
Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for construction contractor FVB, said work would be intensifying during the next few weeks.
“It’s a very complex project using a range of skills, technologies and specific expertise, which is encompassing a large area of the city in both Castletown and Pallion, as well as the river itself, so it’s not straight forward, but it’s going well,” he said.
“We appreciate road works in and around the site may be frustrating for drivers, but I can assure people they are necessary in order to upgrade the road network and to ensure both drivers and our workforce are safe.
“I appeal to people to drive carefully and within the speed limits and to bear with us.”
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For more information, go to www.newwearcrossing.co.uk, or call 0800 223 0379