Northern Counties Young Members visit New Wear Crossing

Published: 06/04/2017

The Northern Counties Young Members Group (YMG) enjoyed a visit to the construction site of the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland in March.

The event was a joint visit with our local ICE group, and provided first hand, on-site experience of a unique and challenging project. 

Senior Site Engineer, Amy Wright, gave a presentation on the project and then guided our group around the site, giving us the opportunity to understand the main challenges of such a project, including how the engineers work as part of a team to satisfy the client’s criteria; the different phases required for a project of this size and complexity; and how construction techniques impact on the project time frame. 

The site engineers were extremely knowledgeable in explaining various parts of the construction and how the crossing will improve transport links between the A19 and Sunderland City Centre and the Port of Sunderland, enabling a huge area of land along the south bank of the river to be regenerated and creating up to 6,000 new jobs. 

The Crossing:

In May 2015, Sunderland City Council awarded the design and build contract of the New Wear Crossing to Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction, which formed FVB Joint Venture to deliver the project.

Work started with the demolition of derelict buildings along the south of the river and the building of the cofferdam – a watertight box in the middle of the river from where the team could begin building the foundations of the main central pylon.

In October 2016 the first section of bridge deck was launched across the river from its assembly site on the south bank and in February 2017 the 105m pylon was raised into position in a 15-hour operation.

In March this year the second phase bridge deck was successfully launched across the river. During the spring and summer of 2017 the remaining 40m of bridge deck will be built in-situ on the north side of the river, and the cable stays will be attached to the pylon and then connected to the deck. Once they are stressed to take the weight of the bridge, the temporary supports will be removed. Sunderland’s new bridge is on target to be complete and open by the spring of 2018.

A great visit

This was a very inspiring site visit for young members and a great networking opportunity too. While projects of this kind and size are relatively rare in the North East, we hope to organise similar trips in future.

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