Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Virlogeux: I rejected role for New Wear Crossing

World-renowned bridge designer Michel Virlogeux has added his criticism to the controversial New Wear Crossing in Sunderland, revealing that he dislikes it so much that he turned down an approach to check the design.

Speaking to NCE ahead of a lecture on the future of long-span cable stayed bridges in Vladivostok, Millau Viaduct designer Virlogeux said that the £118M bridge with its 180m and 140m tall bullhorn-shaped curved pylons was “too much”.

“I think you can make bridges elegant without going crazy,” he said. “I am aware of that bridge, and I think, no.”

Virlogeux added that he even turned down the chance to act as design checker on the project when he was approached by consultant Pell Frischmann to join its bid for checking the work.

“Pell Frischmann’s London office approached me to do third party checks but I was uncomfortable doing checks on such a bridge,” he said.

Mott MacDonald was ultimately chosen by client Sunderland City Council to act as the Category III design checker.

Virlogeux’s criticism comes two months after eminent bridge designer Simon Bourne slammed the bridge as a “gross misuse of public money” and wrote to transport secretary Justine Greening urging her to withdraw government funding.

Sunderland City Council says the new bridge forms a key phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor - designed to open up more riverside land for regeneration. As such, an iconic bridge is deemed appropriate. But this comes at a cost, with the council paying £21M more than a simple box girder option.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.