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18 December 2017

England’s new Sunderland Bridge renamed Northern Spire

First published18/12/2017
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New Heights from Sunderland Bridge
New Heights: from Sunderland Bridge to Northern Spire

The new Sunderland Bridge - on track to open in the spring - was officially named Northern Spire during a recent event on the bridge.

The official naming followed a week-long public vote in which 10,000 people chose their favourite name from an official list of three names.

Northern Spire received almost half of the votes, according to bridge officials. The other names were Lumen Point (34% of votes) and The Prism which received 17%.
The two-span cable-stayed bridge across the River Wear in northeast England is around 105m high and supported by a single double pylon – resulting in the name chosen. The steel and concrete structure has four vehicle lanes, as well as dedicated cycle and pedestrian routes.

Work started on the bridge in May 2015. The structure is part of a strategic transport plan to link the port of Sunderland and Sunderland city centre with the A19 main road. The 336m steel and concrete bridge is part of 2.8km of new road layout.

“The crossing has been built to last at least 120 years [and] will definitely stand the test of time,” said Ryan Rogan, construction manager for Farrans Construction, part of a joint venture with Victor Buyck Steel Construction to deliver the project on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

Farrans Construction is civil engineering contractor across the UK and Ireland. Victor Buyck, based in Belgium, is a major structural steelwork contractor specialising in bridges. The FVB JV’s design team is led by Buro Happold Engineering and Roughan & O'Donovan, as well as independent checker Ramboll.

Victor Buyck spent a year fabricating the pylon at its canal-side yard in Ghent, Belgium. Apart from the 1,550tonnes tonnes of steel, around 550tonnes of concrete went into making the pylon that, because of its size, had to be constructed in the open air. It was barged across the often-treacherous North Sea to Sunderland.

World Highways published a review of the bridge’s progress earlier this year.

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