Work is beginning in the River Wear for the foundations of Sunderland’s new bridge.
During the coming weeks, the foundations for the central pylon will begin to take shape with metal columns, known as piles, inserted into the riverbed and along the edge of the southern embankment, where bridge supports will be built.
The start of the river work is marked by the arrival of the Claude Monique – a large barge that is equipped with two cranes and a range of piling equipment to help the construction team to build in the river.
The vessel, measuring 42m x 15m, will provide a platform for the team to work from as a cofferdam is used to help put in the bridge’s foundations.
The cofferdam, a watertight enclosure, will enable the team to work below the waterline as the foundations of the the main central pylon are constructed in the riverbed.
The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.
It is the first bridge to be built over the Wear in the city for more than 40 years and is part of the wider strategic transport plan to link the Port of Sunderland and city centre to the A19 and the A1.
It is also reported that the new bridge will also attract new jobs and investment to Sunderland and help regenerate the area.
Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director with FVB JV, the partnership set up by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to deliver the project, said the arrival of the Claude Monique, which is owned by Farrans, marked a milstone in the project.
He said: “During the past eight months, much of our work has revolved around clearing the site on the south side of the river and preparing the embankments for the foundations to be laid to support the approach roads to the bridge.
“We have now reached a point where the in-river work is starting, and the Claude Monique will help us do that by providing us with a substantial platform to work from.
“She is equipped with a lot of specialist machinery to help us build the cofferdam and get the central pylon foundations underway.”
Phased roadworks relating to the New Wear Crossing have started, with the biggest impact of the traffic management measures, which include lane closures and reduced speed limits, along the A1231 Wessington Way in Castletown.
Other roadworks along several routes in the city will get underway in the coming weeks, which will allow construction workers to safely begin building the approach roads for the new bridge on both the north and south side of the river.
- The permanent closure from February 1 of a short section of Timber Beach Road that links Wessington Way to Sunderland Enterprise Park. It is one of four access roads into Sunderland Enterprise Park. The other three access points will remain open and the current temporary traffic lights along the main section of Timber Beach Road will be removed before the closure.
- A short 250m diversion of the Coast to Coast cycling route as it runs past Sunderland Enterprise Park, taking it along Hylton Park Road, will also be implemented in February. The diversion will be in place until the new bridge is open.
To sign up to receive regular updates on the New Wear Crossing, email firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be put on the distribution list.
For more information, go to www.newwearcrossing.co.uk, or call 0800 223 0379