D-day over who will build new road bridge across River Wear

NEW BRIDGE ... a view of the River Wear at the site of the new bridge, looking upstream.
NEW BRIDGE ... a view of the River Wear at the site of the new bridge, looking upstream.
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A DECISION on who could build a major new road bridge across the River Wear is due to be made next week by Sunderland City Council’s cabinet.

Civil engineering and construction companies were invited to tender when a contract notice for its design and construction was published in the EU Official Journal in May last year.

These steps all followed confirmation from the Government in March 2014 that up to £82.5m of Department of Transport funding is set aside for the project.

This funding is part of the Sunderland City Deal in Partnership with South Tyneside.

Construction tenders for the bridge and its approach roads closed on Friday, December 5.

The evaluation report on three tenders is being considered by the council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 28 January.

The three bidders that submitted final tenders are:

* FCC Construction S.A.

* A joint venture between Northstone (NI) Ltd (‘Farrans’) and Victor Buyck Steel Construction N.V.

* A joint venture between Hochtief (UK) Construction Ltd and Dragados SA

Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The new bridge is all about bringing further regeneration, bringing improvements to the city’s infrastructure, and bringing more opportunities for more economic growth.

“We are going to be unlocking access to more land for regeneration and improving transport connections across the city.

“These in turn are going to create jobs and attract further investment into the city.

“The new bridge and its approach roads are linking the strategic transport corridor from the Port of Sunderland, through the city centre, past our key riverside regeneration sites and out to the A19.

“Next week we expect to finalise the appointment of our main works design and build contractor.

“Our decision is then subject to a final approval from the Government.”

The report to the Cabinet includes details of the quality evaluation which makes up 30 per cent of the bid.

This quality evaluation outlines how there should be recruitment opportunities for young people, apprenticeships, and for people who may have been unemployed for six months or more.

And, promoting the local supply chain so that small and medium-sized companies can benefit from the works.

Because of the approval process with the Government, the City Council will be releasing details of the contractor at a later date.

The bridge is to be cable-stayed and cross the River Wear between Castletown on the north side to Pallion on the south.

It will have two lanes of traffic in both directions and dedicated cycleways and footpaths along its full length.

Subject to the decision-making processes, including final Government approvals, works are anticipated to start by summer 2015.