New Wear Crossing cables fully installed and tensioned to 50 percent
The New Wear Crossing in Sunderland has hit the next milestone on its journey to completion with the installation of the cable stays.
The structural engineering company carrying out the work has now completed the final installation of the 28 cable stays, tensioning the cables to 50 percent of their design load.
The work is the latest stage of the construction of the new bridge which is due to be finished by spring next year.
The next stage of tensioning, also known as stressing, will take place in October when the cables will be tensioned to 100 percent of the design load.
That will allow the team to adjust and tension them just enough to lift the bridge deck off the blue steel temporary supports that were constructed in the river to take the weight of the structure.
Gradually, in the coming months, those temporary supports will be removed, leaving only the pylon and the bridge deck on display in the river.
Finishing works, such as road surfacing, paving, lighting, the installation of railings and carrying out road markings, must all be complete before the cable stays can be finely adjusted and locked off at the end of construction.
Stephen McCaffrey, Project Director for Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction said he was pleased with progress.
Work began on the New Wear Crossing – Sunderland’s first bridge across the River Wear in more than 40 years – in May 2015.
It is Phase 2 of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor, which aims to improve links between the A19 and Sunderland City Centre and the Port of Sunderland.
The new bridge will also open up land for regeneration along the south side of the river, help to create jobs, and reduce congestion around the city.
During the first 18 months, much of the work centred around clearing the site in Pallion and Castletown, building the foundations, and building the steel pylon and bridge deck.
The most prominent section of the bridge, 105m pylon, was put up in February.
The bridge deck launched across the river in spring, and the installation of the cable stays during the summer.
Sunderland City Council Leader Cllr Paul Watson, said: