Bridge project gets wildlife approval

Conservation experts have given the thumbs up to Sunderland's new bridge.

Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 8:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th November 2016, 2:18 pm
At the site of the New Wear Crossing, from left: Peter Nailon, Gareth Andrews and Paul Atkinson, of the Wear River Trust.

Members of the Wear Rivers Trust went along to the development site in Pallion to learn about the progress for themselves.

The New Wear Crossing team has worked alongside members of the trust since work on the new bridge got underway in May 2015. However, it wasn’t until they visited the development site that the members fully appreciated just how complex the project was.

Trust Managing Director, Peter Nailon, said: “It’s been fascinating. The scale of the development is really impressive. We can really see how it’s coming together, and learning the different methods involved, including the launching of the bridge deck over the river, has been amazing.

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“Throughout the development so far, we have been working with Sunderland City Council and the project team to help improve the natural habitat along the river and its connecting streams for wildlife.

“The council has provided us with support to help us do that, which we have been able to back with additional support from the Environment Agency, so work will be on-going for the next couple of years.”

Sunderland City Council Leader, Coun Paul Watson, said: “I’m delighted the team from the Wear Rivers Trust was able to visit the site of the New Wear Crossing and see for themselves the progress that has been made, particularly in the past couple of months with the assembly of the bridge deck.

“Both the council and the project team working on the new bridge are committed to safeguarding the natural habitat along the river and other watercourses in the area, and are eager not only to protect wildlife, but to enhance it as well.

“We have assisted WWT Washington Wetland Centre in building new holts for otters and these are already starting to pay dividends, with additional otter sightings. Hopefully, future improvements will have similar results.”

The Wear Rivers Trust is always on the lookout for members of the community who would like to volunteer on a range of projects around the River Wear’s catchment. Anyone interested should email [email protected]

When the New Wear Crossing is opened in the spring of 2018 it will link Castletown on the north side of the river with Pallion on the south and will help to regenerate land along the riverbank, create jobs, and reduce congestion on the city’s roads.