Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge could be '˜as iconic' as the Angel of the North

Sunderland's Northern Spire bridge could be '˜as iconic' as the Angel of the North, according to one of the city's senior councillors.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 2:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 2:26 pm
Leader of Sunderland Council Coun Graeme Miller with Project Manager of the Northern Spire Duncan Ross-Russell, left.
Leader of Sunderland Council Coun Graeme Miller with Project Manager of the Northern Spire Duncan Ross-Russell, left.

Robert Oliver, who leads the council’s opposition Conservative group, has backed the project, which he says could attract even more investment to Wearside.

An official opening is due to be tomorrow, when three Sunderland-built Nissan vehicles will be the first use the crossing.

The Angel of the North in Newcastle with sculptor Antony Gormley. Picture: PA.

And it is hoped this could start a trend, with the Japanese manufacturing giant using the bridge to export its vehicles via the Port of Sunderland.

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Everything you need to know about the opening of Sunderland's new Northern Spire...

Coun Oliver said: “The project has to be seen as primarily one of economic redevelopment with the ultimate aim of connecting Nissan and other businesses with the Port of Sunderland.

“It has always been a shame that cars produced in Washington are exported throughout the world from the Port of Tyne with Sunderland’s own deep water port nearby.

Councillor Robert Oliver.

“It is to be hoped that, once complete, the bridge and the whole transport corridor could persuade successive governments to invest more in the infrastructure in the region.

“If successful in bringing jobs to the city, kick-starting the Vaux site and opening up land for executive and affordable housing, then more investment could be on the way.”

When it opens, the Northern Spire will become the region’s highest structure, standing taller than Nelson’s Column and Big Ben’s clock tower.

It is part of Sunderland Council’s wider plans to improve the road network between the A19 and Sunderland city centre, and the Port of Sunderland, which includes a dual carriageway, expected for completion in 2021.

However, while the Conservatives have given their backing to the plans of the Labour-controlled council, the other opposition group, the Liberal Democrats have been more skeptical.

Coun Oliver added: “Liberal Democrats have referred to the Northern Spire as a ‘bridge to nowhere’ and a ‘white elephant’ but they could not be more wrong in term of the impact it may have.

“It is one of the most positive things to happen on Wearside in recent years and an excellent example of political parties working together to get the best for the city.”

 

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service