This imposing new bridge will connect Castletown on the north bank and Pallion on the south bank. Image: Sunderland City Council
Fabricated off site, the bridge’s pylon stands 105 metres above the river. Image: Sunderland City Council
Making a statement on the city skyline, the bridge forms a key part of the regeneration of the region. Image: Sunderland City Council
An unprecedented project for BuroHappold in both size and scale, New Wear Crossing is the largest bridge the team has worked on. Image: Sunderland City Council
New Wear Crossing
Forming a major part of the regeneration of the North East, the New Wear Crossing will be the first road bridge to be built in Sunderland for more than 45 years. Crossing the River Wear, it will carry two lanes of traffic in each direction, together with dedicated cycle ways and footpaths, creating a much-needed safe passage for all modes of transport.
BuroHappold Engineering has worked on the project since tender stage, and is now supporting the final stages of the bridge construction. As well as the river bridge, there are a number of surrounding road highway structures that also form part of our scope.
The brief from the client was to deliver the bridge within a tight timeframe, which was particularly challenging due to the size and scale of the bridge, which stands taller than Big Ben.
We successfully completed the detailed design of the River Bridge in less than six months. This in itself is a major achievement in bridge engineering, as detailed designs for structures of this size and scale would usually take two or three times this to complete. The resulting design is an imposing two span cable-stayed bridge with an A-frame pylon.
A key part of our work involved developing an innovative construction method that includes an incremental deck launch and roll up of New Wear Crossing’s main pylon. This approach allowed off-site manufacture of the bridge steelwork, which was then delivered by sea to the Port of Sunderland. This has enabled the pylon to be transported as a single, 100 metre long, steel element, which will stand at 105 metres once raised onto its final position. By minimising the amount of work carried out on site, we increased safety for people working on site, while delays resulting from variables such as bad weather were removed.
Reflecting the truly collaborative nature of this project, we worked with a design team from all over Europe. This has brought many fresh perspectives to the design, while enabling all members of the team to share their unique knowledge and skills to deliver the best solutions.
First bridge to be constructed in the city for 45 years
Our approach led to detailed design being completed 2-3 times faster than other projects of this scale
At 105 metres tall, the bridge stands higher than Big Ben and Nelson’s Column
Off site construction saved delivery time and improved site safety
Client: Farrans Construction / Victor Buyck Steel Construction JV
Consulting engineers: Roughan O’ Donovan
Duration: 2015 – ongoing
Services provided by BuroHappold: Bridge engineering and civil structures, lighting, ground engineering, project management