New boulevard opens to drivers in Sunderland city centre

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DRIVERS will be able to use the new St Mary’s Boulevard this weekend.

The new east-bound carriageway – which runs along the Vaux site – will open on Sunday. It is opening before final road surface is applied closer to the completion of the works

Sunderland City Council said news was a “major milestone” in the remodelling of St Mary’s Way and Livingstone Road into the new St Mary’s Boulevard.

Cabinet Secretary Councillor Mel Speding was on site today to see how work has progressed since the “ground-breaking” ceremony in June 2013.

He said: “It is great to be able to see how well the work is progressing. Much of the project until this point has not been very visible with a huge amount of effort going into preparing the site and its massive infrastructure and in-built services.

“Really, it is only now we are beginning to see the huge positive change this project will make on how Sunderland City Centre looks and works.

“By preparing the former Vaux site for development we are undertaking an ambitious, long-term plan to support economic growth and create a more vibrant and prosperous city that we can all be proud of.”

Westbound traffic will begin to use the new road in coming weeks to allow contractors Balfour Beatty to move onto the development of the area at the top of High Street West to be developed into a new public square.

The whole scheme will be finished by winter 2014.

The full cost of the scheme is £11.86 million, with £2.34 million from a successful bid to ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) and £2.5 million from GPF (Growing Places Fund), which is managed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP).