Work on Sunderland's new Wear Crossing hits the halfway mark, with more than half a million hours clocked up

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The project to build a new bridge across the River Wear in Sunderland is half-way there – with more than 500,000 man hours completed on site so far.

Work on the New Wear Crossing is progressing well, with the first section of bridge deck launched out across the river last week.

The half a million hours worked on site have covered 533 accident-free days since work started on clearing the site and demolishing disused buildings; constructing roads and supporting structures; establishing the bridge foundations within the riverbed; and assembling the bridge deck.

By the time the bridge is complete in the spring of 2018, more than one million man hours will have been clocked up on the project over 1,000 days.

Last week, hydraulic jacks were used to slowly pull the first – steel framed – bridge deck section 120 metres out across the water in an operation that took just seven hours to complete.

The project team has captured progress and the launch of the bridge deck with a mix of time lapse and drone footage to show how work has developed since the summer.

The bridge deck inches its way out over the Wear.

The bridge deck inches its way out over the Wear.

Once the 105-metre high A-frame pylon, which is the centrepiece of the bridge, arrives on site early in 2017 and is raised into position, the extended bridge deck will then be pulled into position across the width of the river.

Sunderland City Council leader Coun Paul Watson said: "You can see from the video footage that the New Wear Crossing project is making excellent progress and the bridge itself is now starting to appear.

"An awful lot of work has been carried out so far, and there is obviously a lot more to do, but when this bridge is complete it will be the catalyst for regeneration along the river, will help attract investment into Sunderland and will contribute to the creation of thousands of new jobs. Exciting times lie ahead."

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director of FVB joint venture, formed by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to deliver the project on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said the project was on track to be complete on time.

The bridge deck poised to be extended.

The bridge deck poised to be extended.

He said: "We are about half way through and I’m very happy with progress to date. During the next few months there are other, exciting key milestones to complete, such as the raising of the pylon in the river and the launching of the whole bridge deck across to the north side, so there is going to be a lot for people to see.

"I’d like to thank the whole team for their hard work so far. There are a lot of people working on this project, both on site and in the background, overseeing the design and planning, and the engineering and construction, and progress to date is down to their teamwork, professionalism and commitment."

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.

Aerial view of the bridge deck.

Aerial view of the bridge deck.

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

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

The bridge deck is inched into place

The bridge deck is inched into place

The deck extends out into the river.

The deck extends out into the river.

Work to extend the bridge deck begins.

Work to extend the bridge deck begins.