Jake Berry MP gave the UK Government’s seal of approval for the New Wear Crossing as he visited the construction site in Sunderland today.
Mr. Berry, who is the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth with the Department for Communities and Local Government, toured the site and had a briefing with senior councillors, officials and construction workers.
He said: “Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: “This government is committed to improving infrastructure investment in the Northern Powerhouse. That’s why we’ve provided £82.5million to help build the New Wear Crossing.
“This is the first new bridge in Sunderland for 40 years. Not only will it relieve congestion and reduce journey times, it will also help boost growth and create jobs in the region.”
The opportunity for economic growth and development that this new bridge here in Sunderland will bring is easy to see when you look at the land on the south side of the River Wear that it opens up for development. It is stunning piece of infrastructure and we’re very pleased that DCLG funding is being used on this project in a way that will help grow the economy and benefit communities right across the north east region.”
Economic studies show that every £1 invested in construction projects like the New Wear Crossing generate £4.80 worth of benefits to the local economy. The UK Government has contributed £82.5million towards the cost of the project, with Sunderland City Council providing the remaining £35.1million.
Cllr Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “It has been very good to host the Minister on site today and show just what the government funding is enabling the council to deliver here in Sunderland. There is a real momentum building up in Sunderland at the moment with The Tall Ships coming next year and the Capital of Culture bid gathering a lot of support, so this visit and the Minister’s backing for the New Wear Crossing is another positive for the city.”
Kevin Corley, Operations Director for Farrans, said: “This is a major project for Farrans and our partners from Victor Buyck Steel Construction, and I am delighted that our team was able to talk the Minister through the construction process and show him round the site.”
The site has undergone a huge transformation over the past few weeks with the installation of 28 cable stays, the last of which are due to be put in place today.
Each cable will be made up of between 44 and 77 individual strands, varying in length from 52m to 165m, depending on its position on the deck. The longer the cable, the more strands there will be.
Each strand is made up of several individual wires, which combine to form a diameter equal to that of a penny and which can support up to 28 tonnes, although they will only be tensioned to support seven tonnes on the New Wear Crossing.
One single strand on its own is strong enough to lift four fully-grown male African elephants, whilst just three strands could lift the Space Shuttle.
The New Wear Crossing is Phase Two of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which aims to improve links between the A19 and Sunderland City Centre and the Port of Sunderland. It is on track to be complete in the spring of next year.
It will cross the River Wear between Castletown and Pallion and will improve transport links around the city, open up land for regeneration along the south side of the river, and help to create jobs.