Final works underway ahead of Northern Spire opening
Written by Scott McGerty on 26th May 2018
The opening of Sunderland’s new impressive bridge across the River Wear – Northern Spire – is nearing, after delays to the project due to the bad weather at the start of the year.
Finishing works on the bridge, which boasts a 105m-high central A-frame pylon, are underway with it expected to be open to traffic early in summer.
It was hoped Northern Spire would have been complete by May/June, but the cold, wet and windy weather during the first four months of the year halted progress.
No official opening date has been announced for Northern Spire, which is the first bridge to be built over the River Wear in more than 40 years.
Mark Jackson, Head of Infrastructure and Transport at Sunderland City Council, said Northern Spire was more than just a bridge across the river.
“I don’t think we can over-estimate the difference Northern Spire will make to the city. It is the second part of a five-phase plan to improve the road network around the city, which will make it easier for people to access the A19, the Port of Sunderland and generally get around the city.” – Mark Jackson, Sunderland City Council
Northern Spire will link Castletown to the north of the river with Pallion in the south and is part of a wider plan to improve the road network between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland and Sunderland City Centre.
The last finishing works to the deck and pylon, including painting, which are all heavily weather-dependent, are scheduled to be completed in the coming weeks.
The bridge has been designed and built to last at least 120 years. More than 2,000 people have worked on the project over the past three years during a million man-hours.
Costing £117.6m, funding has been jointly provided by the Government, which contributed £82.5m, and Sunderland City Council, which contributed £35.1m.