Final £70million stage of Sunderland's Strategic Transport Corridor opens to drivers
Sunderland’s Strategic Transport Corridor is open – more than six years after work on the first section was completed.
The third and final section of the new road, linking Wessington Way to the city centre and Riverside quarter, opened today, Wednesday, November 3.
The first section – which removed the roundabout outside the city magistrates court, straightening St Mary’s Way to create Keel Square – was completed in May 2015 and the second – installing the new Northern Spire bridge and its approach roads – in August 2018.
The new section has been delivered by Esh Construction on behalf of Sunderland City Council and forms part of a £70.8million investment by the council.
Work has involved demolishing the former Doxford shipyard gatehouse and re-erecting its famous arches and gates at the newly-created Doxford Junction with Pallion Quay.
Council leader Coun Graeme Miller was joined by Esh Construction Project Director Steve Garrigan and Esh Construction CE Andy Radcliffe to cut the ribbon this morning, before an Esh HGV and a city council van became the first vehicles to officially drive along the road.
Councillor Miller was delighted to see such a long-running project finally reach completion: “This is a very important day,” he said.
"It is part of the city plan to make Sunderland the most successful 21st Century medium-sized city in England
"And it shows we are putting the infrastructure in place to support all the other projects that are being delivered in the city.”
With the fight against climate change on the agenda at the moment, he defended opening a new road: “We are still going to need roads for electric vehicles, we are still going to need roads for electric buses,” he said.
Steve Garrigan said the project had presented a number of challenges, even without taking into consideration the changes to working practices enforced during the Covid pandemic.
As well as relocating the Doxford gates, the firm has built the latest retaining wall in the UK support the road as it runs parallel to the Metro line at Pallion.
"It has been very challenging,” said Steve.
"We have had a real mix of disciplines across the board. There has been some very onerous topography that we have had to deal with.”