Pre-cast concrete arrives for Sunderland’s new bridge deck

Hundreds of concrete panels that will form the bridge deck to Sunderland’s New Wear Crossing have started to arrive on site ready for assembly.

Pre-cast 1

Every day, HGVs each carrying up to five large pre-cast concrete panels arrive on the site in Pallion in preparation for the deck to be built in the summer.

Some 855 panels in total will be delivered to the site, each up to 4m x 4m in size and varying in weight from five to 18 tonnes.

The bridge deck itself will use 670 of the panels, while the remaining 185 will be used as parapet units for the retaining walls on both the north and south approach roads.

Civil Engineer Alan Gill, who works for Farrans Construction, said the concrete panels would be installed on the steel bridge deck girders from the start of August.

“We are moving into a really exciting phase of the bridge-building programme now as work is progressing in the river on the main pylon foundations, and the panels for the bridge deck are being delivered every day.

“Obviously, building the bridge deck is such an integral part of the project. We will start to secure these large concrete panels to the steel supports in August, and should be ready to launch the first part of the bridge deck out across the river in September.

“Once we do that, people will be able to see the bridge taking shape. It’s a fascinating process.”

The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion and is on track to open in the spring of 2018.

It is the first bridge to be built over the Wear in Sunderland for more than 40 years and is part of the wider strategic transport plan to link the Port of Sunderland and city centre with the A19.

The £117m bridge and road improvement project is beginning to pick up pace this spring, with work on the north and south approach roads progressing and the cofferdam – a watertight steel box in the river from which the team can work  – completed.

Bridge supports on either side of the river will take shape in the coming weeks, while the bridge deck itself is assembled on the embankment on the south side of the river.

Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Paul Watson said he was excited to see work progressing on the new bridge and the benefits it would bring.

“This project is already providing benefits to Sunderland and the wider North East region in terms of local businesses winning work on site, or contracts to supply materials to site,” said Cllr Watson.

“And once the bridge is complete, journey times around the city will be greatly improved, public transport will be enhanced and huge areas of land along the south side of the river will be available for regeneration. It will also help to create jobs and boost business.”

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for FVB joint venture, created by Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction to build the bridge, said he was happy with the pace of the scheme.

“A project of this size and nature, with a huge variety of different complexities, obviously brings challenges, but we are very happy with progress,” said Stephen

“We appreciate the project is having a knock-on effect to motorists as roads are being improved and altered, but we are doing our best to minimise disruption and apologise for any inconvenience.”

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