Stunning video shows arrival of Sunderland's new bridge pylon
The team behind Sunderland's new Wear Crossing have released a video showing the arrival of its massive central pylon in the city.
Hundreds of people lined the seafront and riverside on Saturday afternoon to see the impressive white structure - made of more than 1,000 tonnes of steel and 550 tonnes of concrete - , arrive into the Port of Sunderland.
When the pylon arrived, it was met by harbour tug boats from the north east, about a mile off the Port entrance, and then towed past the Roker and New South piers before berthing at Greenwells Quay.
It will be moored at the port for several weeks while final preparations are carried out before it is transported three miles up the River Wear to the site of the new bridge between Pallion and Castletown.
While the pylon is moored at the port, members of the public will be able to see it from the roof of the National Glass Centre, which offers excellent views across the riverside and port area.
The pylon will form the centrepiece of the New Wear Crossing, which is on track to open in the spring of 2018. It will help attract investment into Sunderland, create new jobs and regenerate land along the River Wear.
Sunderland City Council leader Coun 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.
"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."
The next milestone in the bridge project will be the transportation of the pylon up the river to its permanent new home between Castletown and Pallion.
The transportation will be timed to coincide with the high tide and will be a precise and well-planned process, with the Louis barge that has transported the pylon across the North Sea accompanied by tugs as it makes its short journey to site.
Once it is in location at the construction site, and final checks have been made, it will then be raised into position at the centre of the new bridge.
The raising of the pylon, which will stand 105m above the River Wear, will be a hugely complex piece of engineering work that will take several hours to complete.
Details about the raising will be released nearer the time.