Sunderland bridge construction team help clear up the Wear

Volunteers clean up the Rainton Burn.
Volunteers clean up the Rainton Burn.
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The team behind the New Wear Crossing project in Sunderland has taken the plunge to help clean up the River Wear.

Volunteers, including staff from Sunderland City Council, construction consortium FVB JV, Faithful+Gould, Atkins Ltd and other partners, spent a day working to improve Rainton Burn, near Houghton.

This was a great chance to get involved in a local project to help the ecosystem of the river and was an opportunity for the team to use their engineering experience on another local project.

David Abdy

The team, under the direction of Steve Hudson from the Wear Rivers Trust, began by harvesting lengths of willow and using it to create a sustainable natural barrier in the banks.

The willow will take root, holding the banks together and creating a secure and rich habitat for wildlife, including kingfishers, otters, fish and invertebrates.

The team also removed litter and blockages to tidy the area, and reduce the risk of pollution and flooding.

David Abdy, project director of the New Wear Crossing project for Sunderland City Council, said: “This was a great chance to get involved in a local project to help the ecosystem of the river, and was an opportunity for the team to use their engineering experience on another local project.”

The New Wear Crossing project was launched in May of this year and will see a new £100million bridge built across the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown, and European Way in Pallion.

Stephen McCaffrey is the project director with FVB JV, the partnership set up by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction, to deliver the project: “We were delighted to spend some time working with our colleagues from Sunderland City Council and other partners, such as project management consultants Atkins and communications agency DTW, on this important scheme,” he said. “It was an exhausting, but very rewarding day.”

Steve Hudson added: “The bank protection measures will contribute towards reducing the amount of silt and sediment entering the watercourse, while enhancing spawning gravels for fish, improving water quality for invertebrates and creating new habitat for small mammals and birds.”