A multinational joint venture between Irish contractor Farrans and Belgian outfit Victor Buyck has completed half of the work on the £117 million New Wear Crossing in Sunderland.
More than 500,000 man-hours have been completed on site so far and the first section of bridge deck has been launched out across the river (pictured).
Stephen McCaffrey, project director at the JV, said: “We are about half way through and I’m very happy with progress to date. During the next few months there are other, exciting key milestones to complete, such as the raising of the pylon in the river and the launching of the whole bridge deck across to the north side, so there is going to be a lot for people to see.
“I’d like to thank the whole team for their hard work so far. There are a lot of people working on this project, both on site and in the background, overseeing the design and planning, and the engineering and construction, and progress to date is down to their teamwork, professionalism and commitment.”
Hydraulic jacks were used to pull the first – steel framed – bridge deck section 120-m out across the water in an operation that took seven hours to complete.
The deck is being held in place above the water on a series of temporary supports constructed within the riverbed, while the construction team begins to assemble the second section of bridge deck directly behind the first on the south side of the river.
Once the 105-metre high A-frame pylon, which is the centrepiece of the bridge, arrives on site in early 2017 and is raised into position, the extended bridge deck will be pulled into position across the width of the river.
Leader of Sunderland City Council Cllr Paul Watson said: “An awful lot of work has been carried out so far, and there is obviously a lot more to do, but when this bridge is complete it will be the catalyst for regeneration along the river, will help attract investment into Sunderland and will contribute to the creation of thousands of new jobs. Exciting times lie ahead.”
The JV has been supported by a design team Buro Happold and Roughan & O’Donovan on the new bridge, which will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.
By the time the bridge is complete in the spring of 2018, more than one million man hours will have been clocked up on the project over 1,000 days.
Footage of the scheme being built and interviews with the project team can be viewed here.