Sunderland’s new bridge is starting to take shape.
The impressive fabricated steel sections that will form the deck of the structure are now being delivered to site.
The huge cross beams that will provide the framework for the concrete deck have started to arrive on site in Pallion, each measuring 20 metres long by two metres deep.
In total, 38 cross beams are being transported from the Port of Sunderland to site in the coming weeks, along with the main girder sections, which will run along the edge of the deck, each measuring 15 metres by 1.8 metres.
Sunderland City Council Leader coun Paul Watson said: “I have been on site in the past few days and the project is moving along at a pace.
“The concrete panels for the bridge have arrived and now we are seeing the arrival of the fabricated steel, which has enabled the team to start assembling the deck.
“There is an enormous amount of activity taking place on both the north and south sides of the river, and in the river itself. We are a year into the project and remain on track for a 2018 spring opening. Exciting times are lying ahead.”
Hundreds of smaller, fabricated steel components are also being delivered to site ready for the deck to be assembled in the coming weeks.
The deck is being built in two sections, with the first section being slowly launched out across the river in September, in readiness for the arrival of the main A-frame pylon – which is the centerpiece of the new bridge – towards the end of the year.
The second half of the deck will then be launched later during the winter.
Stephen McCaffrey, project director for FVB joint venture, created by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to build the bridge, said: “A construction project of this size and nature brings many challenges and complexities, involving the local landscape, road network, and design and construction of the bridge itself.
“We have a team of experts from both within the UK and from overseas who are bringing together their expertise and knowledge to build this striking new landmark for the city of Sunderland, both on time and on budget.
“We are entering a particularly busy and exciting stage, which will see the workforce on site increase, teams of international experts come together and ultimately the bridge start to take shape, so I’m really looking forward to the weeks and months ahead.”
The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.
It is the first bridge to be built over the Wear in Sunderland for more than 40 years and is part of the wider strategic transport plan to link the Port of Sunderland and city centre with the A19.