One of the UK’s leading civil engineers, Professor Tim Broyd, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), has toured the prestigious New Wear Crossing project in Sunderland as part of his official visit to the North East.

Prof. Broyd met with the team involved in the project and went on a walkabout around the new bridge site, taking particular interest in the 105m central pylon, which stands at twice the height of Nelson’s Column and was raised into position earlier this year during a challenging 16-hour operation.

The £117m New Wear Crossing project is the largest infrastructure scheme underway in the North East at present.

It is phase two of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which is a five-phase plan to improve links between the A19 and Sunderland City Centre and the Port of Sunderland with Phase 1 (city centre) opening in 2014 and Phase 3 (linking the new bridge to the city centre) in the advanced stages of the statutory consents and approvals process.

The new bridge will link Castletown to the north of the River Wear with Pallion to the south, and will open up land along the River Wear for regeneration and development, as well as help to create up to 6,000 new jobs and improve journey times around the city.

Prof. Broyd is widely respected in the industry and is both a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the ICE. He is also currently a Vice Chairman of the Construction Industry Council and a Director of both BuildingSmart (UK) Ltd and CEEQUAL Ltd.

Prof. Broyd said: “The New Wear Crossing is a perfect example of the first class infrastructure being developed in this region, and will bring great value to the city of Sunderland by creating greater connectivity links on Wearside. The North East requires continued investment in projects like this, which will help unlock further economic benefits across the region.

“I would like to thank the team from FVB Joint Venture for allowing me to see first-hand the developments at this impressive site.”

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Paul Watson, said he was delighted to welcome Professor Broyd to the city.

“We are extremely proud of the New Wear Crossing, so it’s been wonderful to show Professor Broyd the progress we are making on site and explain to him what this new bridge is going to do for Sunderland.

“It will be the catalyst for change in the city, bringing new jobs and development, as well as improvements to our road network, and will make a statement that Sunderland is very much open for business.”

The project to build the New Wear Crossing got underway in May 2015. It is on track to be complete in the Spring of 2018. Farrans Construction and Victor Buck Steel Construction formed FVB Joint Venture to deliver the bridge on behalf of Sunderland City Council.

Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for FVB, said: “Professor Broyd has a wealth of experience and knowledge in civil engineering, so it was an honour to welcome him to site and share with him some of the innovative methods we have used to build this new bridge, as well as talk about the challenges and complexities of the project.”

The site visit formed part of Prof. Broyd’s ‘President’s Visit’ to the North East, which culminates with the ICE North East Annual Dinner where he will present the ICE’s prestigious Robert Stephenson Awards for 2017.