It’s here! Your chance to be part of the history of the city.
Today we are asking the people of Sunderland to vote on the name of the new Wear crossing.
We told on you Monday how a selected panel of judges have been given the difficult task of coming up with a shortlist of three names to put to a public vote.
Echo managing editor Gavin Foster chaired the panel which included Sunderland AFC legend Jimmy Montgomery, Paralympic gold medallist Matt Wylie MBE, prominent businesswoman and director at Wessington Cryogenics Gill Courtney and Ram Ramanathas, development manger at the city’s Young Asian Voices.
Also on the panel were MD and founder of Geek Talent Dominic Murphy, New Wear Crossing senior site engineer Amy Wright and Sail Training Ambassador and St Anthony’s pupil Lucy Robinson.
Together they came up with a shortlist which reflects the city’s rich heritage, but also speaks out to its vision and aspirations for the future – and here they are: Northern Spire, The Prism and Lumen Point.
Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Harry Trueman, said: “We are nearing completion of Sunderland’s fantastic new bridge, so it’s the right point for us to consider a permanent name that will stand the test of time.
“Choosing a name is not an easy task, so we have waited until now because we felt it was important for people to see the bridge almost complete before they were asked to vote.
“Now we are in the final stages of construction, we can begin to appreciate its size and significance on the skyline, and the impact it will have on the city.
“We believe it will bring investment into Sunderland, will lead to regeneration, will help to create jobs and will instil a new sense of pride in people. It belongs to the people of Sunderland, so we hope everyone gets behind it and helps us to decide on its new name.”
While it is hoped the new name will make a statement about the city’s ambitions for the future and recognise it innovations of the past - with the bridge designed and built to last at least 120 years, its new name must also be able to stand the test of time.
Gavin Foster said: “We were all so proud to be part of the historic event and we believe the names reflect the city’s rich history and ambition. But it’s now down to the public and our readers to decided the name and form part of Sunderland’s history for generations to come.”
Work began on the New Wear Crossing – Sunderland’s first bridge across the River Wear in more than 40 years –in May 2015.
It is Phase 2 of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which aims to improve links between the A19 and Sunderland City centre and the Port of Sunderland.
The new bridge will also open up land for regeneration along the south side of the river, help to create jobs, and reduce congestion around the city.
•It’s now over to you! You can vote here in our poll, use the coupon printed in our newspaper or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Be part of our history.
The shortlisted bridge names
With this name, the panel felt that ‘Northern’ was reflective of the regional significance of the bridge, beyond the city and that the definition of ‘Spire’ (a cone or pyramid-like structure/the highest point of something) was a good fit for the 105m tall pinnacle of the new bridge, as it reaches for the skies!
Northern Spire also reflects Sunderland’s rich educational and industrial heritage which began with its oldest church, St Peter’s which was built in the 7th Century and housed the first stained glass.
The Prism represents another link to Sunderland’s proud industrial heritage in terms of glass making. Also with connotations to ‘light’, a prism’s transparent form reflects different angles, and the panel felt this was represented by the cable-stays in the structure of the new bridge.
Equally, the panel noted how a prism creates different shapes and colours and how this is reflective of not only the diversity of the city but also the different strands of history that has helped to form the Sunderland of today.
This name gives a nod to our city’s history and heritage and connections to light, reflective of the city’s links with Sir Joseph Swan, the British inventor of the electric light bulb.
The Latin word Lumen can be translated to English words such as light, bright, shine, and gleam. ‘Light’ is already well established in the fabric of Sunderland through landmarks such as the Stadium of Light.
The panel also favoured the word ‘point’ in this name which echoes the shape and physical presence of the new bridge.