Northern Spire Bridge, the first road bridge to be built in Sunderland in more than forty years, is now officially open.  

The majestic bridge across the River Wear was unveiled on Wednesday afternoon.  The first cars to drive over the bridge were two Nissans made in the city.

Built at a cost of £117.6m, the bridge links Castletown to the north of the river with Pallion in the south, facilitating a smoother, more rational flow of traffic around the city and opening up huge areas of land for regeneration. 

At 336m long, the crossing comprises a 24m-wide steel and concrete composite deck, which includes a 240m cable supported span over the river. The cable-stayed span is supported by a 105m high A-frame pylon of steel/concrete composite construction.

For Tony Dempsey, Project Director at Roughan & O'Donovan, who together with joint venture partner, Buro Happold, invested over 25,000 man-hours in delivering the preliminary and detailed design of the bridge, today was a day to celebrate.

This is a very proud day for us, and we are delighted to have been part of the project. It has been a complex and sometimes challenging project, but the trust and collaboration between the client, DJV team and Farrans Victor Buyck CJV construction team has been central to its success.

David Abdy, Project Director for Sunderland City Council, echoed Dempsey's sentiments.

Northern Spire has been in construction for three years, but it has actually been in the planning for decades, so it’s wonderful to see all that hard work come to fruition.  No one person or team could have delivered it on their own; it has been a huge team effort.

Sunderland City Council’s Head of Infrastructure and Transportation, Mark Jackson, hopes the bridge will have a lasting impact on the city, attracting investment, boosting the economy and leading to more jobs.

Not only does Northern Spire look impressive, but it will bring enormous benefits to the city, not least in making it easier and quicker for people to travel around Sunderland.  It is a significant part of the future plans for Sunderland.