Northern Spire – Sunderland’s new bridge across the River Wear – is expected to open in August.
Finishing works on the cable-stayed bridge, which boasts an impressive 105m central A-framed pylon, are expected to take a few more weeks, with the bridge due to open to traffic by the end of August.
It was hoped the bridge would be open in late spring this year, but the harsh weather that dominated the first four months of the year meant that work did not progress as quickly as hoped.
However, during the past few weeks the team has worked hard to maximise the recent spell of good weather and is now finishing final paintworks on the pylon and carrying out final inspections.
Leader of Sunderland City Council Cllr Graeme Miller said:
“We appreciate that people are very eager to see Northern Spire complete and are curious as to when it will open to the public. We, too, are excited to see it in use.
“The only substantive works remaining are painting and inspecting, so we are counting down to opening day.
“Of course, painting at height using high-level platforms dictates the speed at which the painting can happen and this is still sensitive to weather conditions, but we hope the good weather continues so that we can get these final works and the appropriate final inspections completed.
“While we all want to see Northern Spire in use as soon as possible, it’s important that we don’t compromise the finish by rushing to open. This project is far too important for that.”
Northern Spire is the first bridge to be built over the River Wear in the city in more than 40 years. It 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 new bridge will reduce congestion and journey times around the city, attract investment and enable swathes of land along the river to be regenerated.