Sunderland City Council submitted an £82.5M bid for the New Wear Crossing to the Department of Transport (DfT) on Friday.
The council is hoping to gain funding from a £600M pot set aside by the DfT for local authority transport projects that can help facilitate economic growth and provide jobs. The original bid came in at £98M.
Planning was approved for the bridge in April 2010, which if completed would provide better road access between the A19 and the port of Sunderland.
Funding for the curving steel towers bridge was pulled last year following the Comprehensive Spending Review.