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Work begins on Northern Spire bridge link roads

Northern Spire

Esh Civils has started construction of a £35.6M project to link the Northern Spire bridge to Sunderland’s City Centre.

The £35.6m contract, which was awarded in February, represents the third of five phases on the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, a continuous dual carriageway link between the A19 and the Port of Sunderland.

The current phase of project will create a dual carriageway through Pallion, running underneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge, into Deptford and onto the city centre and St Mary’s Boulevard.

The £117M Northern Spire bridge in Sunderland, which has a 105m tall central A-frame pylon, opened to traffic for the first time in August last year. It was designed by BuroHappold and constructed by a Farrans/Victor Buyck joint venture in 36 months.

As part of the highways project, Esh Civils will build more than 2km of retaining walls and structures. 

Esh Civils will construct nine retaining structures in total, six of which are up to 8m  high. The tallest retaining structure will be 12m in height and over 250m long.

Utility diversions and preliminary works are now underway. Earthworks have begun on the western section of the scheme. 

Esh Civils divisional director Steve Conn said: “We are extremely pleased to have been selected to construct the next phase of carriageway linking the Northern Spire Bridge and the city centre. We have a proven track record of infrastructure delivery across a range of sectors and have established a first-class team of professionals to work with our client and our local supply chain to deliver this project.”

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller added: “As a city, we cannot stand still. We have to develop, and we have to invest in our infrastructure. The dual carriageway here is a long-term investment project from the council that has received widespread support in the city, in the region, and from the strong business case that we put to ministers and the Department for Transport.

“Our city’s case was backed by the government with a major allocation of funding. Now, working closely with our main contractor Esh Construction we are breaking new ground and once again improving our city’s connectivity.”

Work to link the Northern Spire Bridge and Sunderland’s city centre is expected to be complete in 2021.

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