The bridge, when completed, will be 336m long and will facilitate two lanes of traffic on either carriageway along with a 3m wide shared cycleway – footway on each side of the bridge. Also included in the development will be 2.8km of new carriageway. It is at the heart of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor. The focal point of the new bridge will be a 105m high steel pylon, from which will radiate out the cable stays supporting the bridge deck. “This is the most challenging bridge project that we have ever undertaken and the first highways bridge with a cable stay design,” confirmed Stephen.
“Its complexity has required a tremendous planning input, involving ourselves and those other international companies working on the development of the bridge.
“Site works commenced in May of last year. The new structure will be commissioned in advance of its planned opening in spring of 2018.
“When fully operational, it will cater for 27,000 vehicles per day.”
The bridge project has already been seven years in development, with the office bearers of Sunderland City Council making no secret of its strategic importance for the region as a whole
Cllr Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The people of Sunderland have waited a long time for this, so it’s wonderful to finally see the bridge unfolding and our ambitions become a reality. It’s a complex project, but we have the right skills and expertise in place to ensure it is delivered on time and to the highest standards.
“The new crossing is going to attract investment into Sunderland, help to regenerate key areas along the river, reduce journey times for motorists, and inject a great sense of pride into the community. There are no doubts in my mind that it will have a profound impact on the future of this great city.”
The physical scale of the project is immense. Its completion will require 3,000t of steel, 4250t of precast concrete decking elements and 100km of cabling. Its development has also entailed the input of an international design team.