Page last updated at 08:12 GMT, Friday, 27 June 2008 09:12 UK

City confirms 104m bridge plan

Wearmouth Bridge
Sunderland already has two road bridges and a rail bridge

City councillors in Sunderland are to press ahead with plans for a 104m road bridge across the River Wear.

Civic and business leaders say a fourth bridge is needed if the city is to attract further investment and reduce traffic congestion.

The public is to be asked to comment on the plan, which would see the bridge link Castletown and Claxheugh.

If full government approval is given, a three-year construction programme could begin in 2011.

Test drilling has already taken place to confirm a suitable site.

'Very necessary'

Phil Barrett, Sunderland City Council director of development and regeneration, said: "After several decades of trying, I think this is a very realistic proposal and we are very optimistic.

"We hope that ministers will very shortly be able to agree that we can get the scheme into their programme."

To meet government rules, the authority will have to foot at least 6m of the bill, which it hopes will be supported by partners, including regeneration agency One Northeast.

Mr Barrett added: "We think a new bridge is very necessary. Initially it will reduce congestion in the city centre and on the other river crossings.

"But fundamentally it will improve road capacity to enable some of the big developments we want to see happening in central Sunderland in the coming years."

Bridge work continues into May
17 Mar 03 |  England
New road may 'fall into sea'
03 Mar 03 |  England

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