Pylon for new Wear crossing arrives in Sunderland
The new River Wear bridge has moved a step closer to reality after the arrival in Sunderland of a huge pylon which will form part of the structure.
About 100m in length, the 1,000-tonne steel pylon came into the city's port just before 1.30pm.
It had set off from the Port of Ghent, in Belgium, just over two days ago, making its way across the North Sea.
The barge which the pylon was on was met by two tug boats who then towed it past the Roker and South piers before berthing at Greenwells Quay.
The pylon will be moored for a number of weeks at the port as final preparations are carried out.
It will then be transported three miles up the river to the site of the new crossing between Pallion and Castletown.
Sunderland City Council leader Councillor Paul Watson said: "Seeing the pylon here in Sunderland for the first time makes me personally feel very proud of all the work that has been put in by a lot of people to turn this project into a reality.
"The bridge will be of pivotal important to the city's economic masterplan and bringing jobs and prosperity to the area, opening up the riverside to new business and jobs.
"There is still a lot of work to be done, but I'd like to say thank you to everyone involved who has ensured that we have got this far - on time and within budget."
When finished and open, city leaders say the bridge will enhance public transport and transport links to Sunderland city centre and to the Port of Sunderland from the A19 and A1 roads.
The bridge, which is being built by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction, known as FVB Joint Venture, is expected to be completed by spring 2018.