Four shortlisted construction firms will be invited to tender for the New Wear Crossing in Sunderland, which could create up to six thousand jobs across the city.
The crossing point will be from Castletown on the north bank of the Wear, to Pallion on the south side.
The bridge and approach roads will be the biggest civil engineering project in the North East.
The aim is to improve links from the A19 to the city centre, and open up areas for development along the south side of the river.
The Government is providing over £80m towards the project.
The tendering process is expected to take six months. Work could start next Spring, and will take about three years to complete.
More top news
An entire North Yorkshire village which went on the market for £20m last year has been sold.
The HMRC said a number of people in the professional football industry have been arrested as part of a probe into alleged fraud
A 24-hour strike on Arriva Rail North will go ahead on 28 April after the failure of talks to resolve a dispute over the role of guards.