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By Kris Jepson
The centrepiece of Sunderland's new bridge has arrived in the city.
The A-frame pylon, which will stand 105 metres above the River Wear, twice the height of the Tyne Bridge, left Ghent in Belgium on Thursday 5th January.
It docked in the Port of Sunderland at around 1.30pm on Saturday 7th January.
Watch @krisjepson's report here:
As the pylon approached Wearside, it was met by harbour tug boats from the North East about a mile off the port entrance.
It was then brought in through the curved arms of the Roker and New South piers, before berthing at Greenwells Quay.
It will be seen for miles around and it will be a landmark, definitely to begin with, but I think iconic is how it builds for the future and clearly some of the bigger part of the bridge is the fact that it will have such a massive impact on the economy of the city, help the region and certainly have a social impact as well. Seeing the thing erected and being built will give a soul back to the city.
The pylon will be the centerpiece of the new wear crossing - a four lane two way 330m bridge on track to end open next spring.
The whole operation, right up to erection of the pylon in the coming months, is a complex engineering feat.
The last time we saw something like this in the UK is when the London Eye was lifted into position. The London Eye was moved up along the River Thames adjacent to where it was going to be and was then lifted into place through a sort of cantilever system. We'll be doing something very similar. It's not been done that often and it will be very exciting and I'm sure when we do that, there will be lots of people there to see it again.
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The New Wear Crossing roadworks at Pallion Junction are entering their next phase as work continues to link the new bridge to Sunderland’s main road network.
Work will be ongoing in the Pallion Junction area until spring 2017. The section of European Way between Pallion Junction and the entrance to Pallion Industrial Estate will now be shut in both directions through until mid-July to allow the construction team to work in this area.
The existing signed diversion, via St Luke’s Road, will continue and vehicle and pedestrian access to local shops, Pallion Retail Park and Pallion Metro Station, will be maintained.
The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.
Work is underway on the foundations for the New Wear Crossing. A giant steel box, 'a cofferdam', has been built in the centre of the river. It will be drained to create a dry area for the foundations so that a 105 meter central pylon can be built.
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