Sunderland's new bridge moves a step closer as deck panels arrive on site

Hundreds of pre-cast concrete panels are being delivered to the construction site of the New Wear Crossing in preparation for the bridge deck to be built.
Hundreds of pre-cast concrete panels are being delivered to the construction site of the New Wear Crossing in preparation for the bridge deck to be built.
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Massive concrete panels that will make up the body of the new Wear Crossing have started to arrive at the construction site.

Hundreds of panels that will form the bridge deck are arriving, ready for assembly.

Work is progressing on the southern approach road to the bridge.

Work is progressing on the southern approach road to the bridge.

HGVs, each carrying up to five large pre-cast concrete panels, have started arriving on the site in Pallion in preparation for the deck to be built in the summer.

Some 855 panels in total will be delivered to the site, each up to 4m x 4m in size and varying in weight from five to 18 tonnes.

The bridge deck itself will use 670 panels, while the remaining 185 will be used as parapet units for the retaining walls on both the north and south approach roads.

Civil Engineer Alan Gill, who works for Farrans Construction, said the concrete panels would be installed on the steel bridge deck girders from the start of August.

"We are moving into a really exciting phase of the bridge-building programme now as work is progressing in the river on the main pylon foundations, and the panels for the bridge deck are being delivered every day," he said.

"Obviously, building the bridge deck is such an integral part of the project. We will start to secure these large concrete panels to the steel supports in August, and should be ready to launch the first part of the bridge deck out across the river in September.

"Once we do that, people will be able to see the bridge taking shape. It’s a fascinating process."

The £117million bridge and road improvement project is beginning to pick up pace this spring, with work on the north and south approach roads progressing and the cofferdam - a watertight steel box in the river from which the team can work - completed.

Bridge supports on either side of the river will take shape in the coming weeks, while the bridge deck itself is assembled on the embankment on the south side of the river.

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for FVB joint venture, created by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to build the bridge, said he was happy with the pace of the scheme.

"A project of this size and nature, with a huge variety of different complexities, obviously brings challenges, but we are very happy with progress," said Stephen

"We appreciate the project is having a knock-on effect to motorists as roads are being improved and altered, but we are doing our best to minimise disruption and apologise for any inconvenience."

To sign up to receive regular updates on the New Wear Crossing, email newwearcrossing@farrans.comasking to be put on the distribution list.

For more information, go to www.newwearcrossing.co.uk, or call 0800 223 0379