A multi-million pound project to transform part of Sunderland city centre has started.
Lumsden & Carroll Civil Engineering have won the £3.5million city council contract to carry out improvements in High Street West.
Works include creating a more welcoming pedestrian environment, including new paving, planting, signage, street furniture and feature lighting. Traffic management around Bridge Street and Fawcett Street will also be improved, including changing of waiting restrictions.
The project will start in Bridge Street, where the road will be returned to a two way traffic flow. Others work will include realignment of kerb lines, relaying and replacement of Yorkstone paving and changes to traffic signals.
Work will then progress in phases upHigh Street West towards the new Keel Square.
The work will be carried out in two phases. Phase 1 will focus on Bridge Street and High Street West up to Keel Square and Phase 2 will continue the works from the square past the Empire Theatre and to the junction with St. Michael’s Way.
Councillor Mel Speding, the City Council's Cabinet Secretary, said: "We’re working hard to improve the way Sunderland city centre looks and feels, to help make it more inviting, and to add vibrancy.
"We have completed a lot of work, notably in Keel Square and St Mary’s Boulevard, and it is time to extend that scheme into the wider area, starting with High Street West. It’s a key area for attracting more customer spend and private sector investment."
Last year, Keel Square won a special award in the Northumbria in Bloom competition and in the Northern Design Awards it won the best Public Open Space award.
Steven Conn, Construction Director at Lumsden & Carroll Civil Engineering, said: "We’re delighted to have been awarded this contract. We’re a local company and it’s great to see investment being made in our local economies, to attract more people and more investment.
"High Street West is a vital route in Sunderland, and in the coming months residents, visitors and businesses will be able to see it transformed into a more modern, attractive and vibrant area of the city."
For full information on the project go to www.sunderland.gov.uk/high-street-west