Business representatives were given an opportunity to learn more about Sunderland’s new bridge and road improvement scheme when they were invited to a presentation on its progress.
More than 60 people attended the business briefing at the city’s Business and Innovation Centre on Friday, where they were able to hear about the progress to date on the New Wear Crossing, future work planned and the benefits to the community.
Two events were held to allow Sunderland City Council and contractor FVB JV to share information about the project and to explain the works planned for the coming weeks and months.
People were then invited to ask questions and give their feedback and comments.
David Abdy, Project Director for Sunderland City Council, said he was pleased with the turn out.
“These briefings gave us an opportunity to talk to local businesses about our progress and aspects of the work that may affect them, such as road works and lane closures, but crucially, they were an opportunity for us to gain feedback,” said David.
“We are keen to engage with the business community, so will be holding similar events in the future. In the meantime, we would encourage anyone interested in the project to email us their contact details and we will send them regular updates.”
Josephine Mather, from Truly Scrumptious in Pallion, was at the event and gave the project her full backing.
She said: “I think the new bridge and road improvements will give a massive boost to the people of Sunderland. I have been travelling this route for 11 years and the traffic is horrific, but hopefully the bridge will alleviate congestion. I also think it’s going to boost the city’s economy. It’s fabulous all round.”
Work on the New Wear Crossing Project began in May this year. The project, part of a wider strategic transport plan, will improve access from the A19 to the city centre and Port of Sunderland. Further, it will help regenerate the area, relieve congestion and attract new jobs and investment to Sunderland.
The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way and European Way and will be the first bridge to be built in the city for more than 40 years.
Tom Rogan, from Penderels Trust, which is based at the Business and Innovation Centre, said he valued the opportunity to attend the presentation.
He said: “I’m really interested in new developments, so found the briefing helpful and informative. The project is very innovative and the style of the bridge is tremendous. I think this new link is long overdue.”
Stephen McCaffrey, is Project Director for FVB JV, which is a partnership formed by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck steel construction, to deliver the project.
He said: “We have made good progress during the first six months and are on schedule to complete the project by spring 2018.
“During the first few months we have carried out a lot of preparatory work on either side of the river, carrying out demolition and clearing work and installing concrete piles, which will be part of the foundations of the road structure.
“In the coming weeks, we will be starting work in the river as we begin the process of creating the support structures for the bridge itself. There will be some disruption throughout the project to the local road network, which we cannot avoid. However, I wish to assure drivers that we will keep disruption to a minimum and will give as much warning as possible. I thank everyone for their continued patience.”
For more information about the project, visit www.newwearcrossing.co.uk, or to sign up to receive a monthly newsletter on the New Wear Crossing, email email@example.com or call 0800 223 0379.