Work to begin on new Wear Footbridge

WORK to clear the way for a new footbridge over the River Wear is now complete, with construction set to commence within weeks.

VolkerStevin has cleared ground on both sides of the River Wear to enable construction to get underway on the new high-level Wear Footbridge.

Connecting the Keel Line from The Beam to the Sheepfolds, the bridge will improve connectivity between the city centre and the Stadium of Light, enhancing the visitor experience on matchdays and for large concerts and events, as well as access to the Beacon of Light and Aquatic Centre, as well as the transforming Grade II Sheepfolds Stables, a new leisure hub that will open later this year. 

Other developments like the Housing Innovation and Construction Skills Academy (HICSA) and British Esports’ Performance Centre will also benefit from the improved connectivity, as well as a community of 500 high quality sustainable new homes that will be delivered at the Sheepfolds.   

Cllr Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “I think I speak for everyone connected with the city when I say how fantastic it is to see work finally get underway on this landmark project.

“The construction of the new footbridge will literally and figuratively bridge the gap between the city centre and the Sheepfolds, expanding its footprint and paving the way for more new homes, workspaces and amenities.

“Working alongside VolkerStevin on the project, it will also create jobs and opportunities for people and businesses in the area, with numerous local contractors procured to deliver it, bringing major benefits long before it’s complete.”

The construction of the bridge – which will boast vistas across the river and out to sea – will also include the delivery of critical infrastructure that will support the roll out of the city’s high-speed fibre, 5G wifi, and low carbon energy networks and will see the preservation and enhancement of the riverside embankments and public realm within Riverside Park.

Ian Cussons, operations director at VolkerStevin, said: “We are delighted to get started on site and to be working collaboratively with Sunderland City Council, to deliver this significant infrastructure project for the city and community. We have a great team in place who are pleased to be involved in the contribution to the economic growth of the city.”

The crossing is just one of a number of major developments that forms part of the Riverside Sunderland delivery plan. Other key highlights include 1,000 sustainable homes to rent and buy, across four stunning riverside neighbourhoods, housing 2,500 residents; one million sq ft of modern office space, in a new central business district, providing up to 10,000 new jobs; a state-of-the-art immersive community hub – the Culture House – that will attract 600,000 visitors a year to a new site in Keel Square and the upgrading of St Mary’s Boulevard into a stylish new main street.

Cllr Miller added: “When we opened The Beam in 2019, we said the development would act as a catalyst for the transformation of Sunderland and this latest development is a perfect example of how it has done just that.

“Alongside the Eye Hospital, City Hall, Maker & Faber, Culture House, Vaux Housing, the Sheepfolds Stables, the British Esports Performance Centre, The Yard and HICSA, we are overseeing the most ambitious regeneration programme Sunderland has seen in generations and this is yet another milestone moment for the ever-transforming Riverside Sunderland project.”

To find out more about Riverside Sunderland, and to keep up to date with the latest developments, visit www.riversidesunderland.com.