Pylon begins to move into place as new Wear Crossing takes shape

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The magnificent centrepiece of Sunderland’s new bridge has arrived on-site.

The massive pylon, which will form the heart of the structure, set off from Port of Sunderland this morning to travel the three miles up-stream to the construction site at Pallion.

Aerial view of the barge at the bridge site

Aerial view of the barge at the bridge site

About 100m in length, the 1,000-tonne steel pylon arrived in the port on Saturday, January 7, after taking two days to cross the North Sea from the Port of Ghent.

The barge which the pylon was met by two tug boats who then towed it past the Roker and South piers before berthing at Greenwells Quay.

The decision on when it would be moved has been dictated by both the weather and the tide in the river.

Stephen McCaffrey is project manager for FVB joint venture, formed by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to build the bridge, said: “This is a major milestone in the project.

Seeing the pylon arrive on is really the start of the next major stage.

Stephen McCaffrey

“Seeing the pylon arrive on is really the start of the next major stage.

“The erection of the pylon will follow very quickly and will change the shape of the bridge.

“The pylon is to be fixed to the concrete tusks that were poured before Christmas before the cables that will be used to erect the pylon can be removed.”

David Abdy, is the project manager for Sunderland City Council and said of today’s development in the scheme: “It’s a massive in many ways, not just the fact that we have reached a significant stage in the project, but now you can get a sense of this all starting to come together.

The pylon barge passes under Wearmouth Bridge

The pylon barge passes under Wearmouth Bridge

“This also represents a massive step forward for all those involved, not just the constructors, but also the staff at the council that have been pushing this project forward for many many years.

“This is really starting to bring it to life.”

The team behind the project had hoped to make its move upstream public, if it had been travelling during the day, but kept this morning’s early hours departure under strict wraps to minimise the risk of sight-seers coming down to the river in the dark.

The bridge is expected to be completed by spring 2018.

The pylon seen from the air as it sets off

The pylon seen from the air as it sets off

The barge arrives at the construction site at Pallion

The barge arrives at the construction site at Pallion

The pylon makes its way up river

The pylon makes its way up river

The pylon travels along the River Wear.

The pylon travels along the River Wear.

Aerial shot of the 'tusks' in the riverbed which will support the pylon

Aerial shot of the 'tusks' in the riverbed which will support the pylon

The pylon on the Wear.

The pylon on the Wear.