27 Sunderland businesses land contracts for Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC3)
More than 25 Sunderland businesses have benefitted from work on the third phase of a major road infrastructure project in the city, it has been revealed.
The £70.8million Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC3) scheme is aimed at boosting connections into and through the city, improving business links and beating congestion.
SSTC3 begins at the southern end of the Northern Spire and continues through Pallion, then underneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge, into Deptford and onto the city centre and St Mary's Boulevard.
Sunderland City Council says it will establish a strategic public transport corridor connecting Washington, Nissan, the new Enterprise Zones and the A19 with the city centre and Port of Sunderland, as well as relieving congestion across the Wearmouth and Queen Alexandra bridges.
And city chiefs say it is proving even more of a win for Wearside, with contracts awarded to 27 Sunderland-based businesses.
The £35million construction contract - which was awarded to civil engineering specialists Esh Civils, the civil engineering division of Esh Construction - is one of a number of projects designed to bolster the economy in the city, connecting Port of Sunderland to the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), which is rapidly growing in Washington.
The project has also supported a large number of local jobs, with 53% of employees working on the scheme living within 20 miles of it.
One of the local companies involved in the scheme is Northumbrian Roads Ltd, a road surfacing business whose material production has been based in Sunderland since it started trading 30 years ago.
Chris Dancer, chairman of Northumbrian Roads, said: "We are delighted to be part of a scheme which provides sustainable local employment, and with surfacing materials sourced from within Sunderland, gives many reciprocal added value benefits to the city.
"We have been the preferred maintenance contractor to Sunderland City Council for over 25 years and also have a long- standing relationship working with Esh Group so this scheme provided the perfect supply chain relationship.
"Having already surfaced both Phase 1 of this project (St Mary's Boulevard) and Phase 2 (Northern Spire Bridge), working on Phase 3 represents a great hat trick for us."
The scheme's design takes into account the land's former use, its geology and gradients and includes the construction of 1.2 miles of retaining walls and structures that will be nearly 40ft high.Councillor Michael Mordey, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, said: "I am delighted to see so much of the work on this important project awarded to Sunderland-based companies, with all the benefits that brings with it in terms of local jobs created and money spent with companies in the local economy.
"As a council, we've always said how important it is to continue investing in our city's infrastructure so that we keep people and goods and services moving freely and conveniently. The dual carriageway here is a key part of that investment as we look to the future."
SSTC3 is 60% complete, with the works continuing throughout the COVID-19 lockdown and is on track to be completed in Autumn 2021.
Councillor Paul Stewart, Cabinet Secretary, said: "We are absolutely committed as a council to community wealth - delivering projects that are supported by local businesses, so that the city and its people get the maximum benefit of any council spend. As with many other projects we're working on across Sunderland, this is delivering tangible benefits to our communities, through our work with Esh Civils, who share a commitment to added value through their work."
Coun Stewart said the project team continue to work hard to keep the local community informed - engaging proactively with neighbours directly affected by the works - including residents, retail outlets, leisure operators and landlords.