The Northern Spire Bridge, Sunderland

Sunderland City Council


Design & Build JV
Farrans Victor Buyck Construction JV

Contractors Designer
Buro Happold Engineering and Roughan & O’Donovan JV

Victor Buyck Steel Construction

Cable StayedBridge

The Northern Spire is a new landmark bridge spanning the River Wear on the outskirts of Sunderland. It’s a symmetrical cable stayed bridge with 100metre tall A framed tower which was fabricated in Belgium, transported by sea and river, before being raised into position during a carefully orchestrated two-day operation using jack and pullies. The 330m deck was built alongside and launched across the river.

The project had a strong focus on sustainability and the environment. The team worked closely with the Environment Agency to agree a Materials Management Plan, that helped to minimise the impact of the project. A detailed analysis of site won materials [waste materials generated by construction works that can be reused] allowed extensive re-use on site. There was also an agreed minimum footprint for the installation and removal of temporary works, and specific methods were developed to protect the underlying saltmarsh and allow it to regenerate.

The bridge superstructure is predominantly of steel and reinforced earth approach structures were designed to reduce the need for concrete. The prefabrication of the tower, in a shipyard in Belgium, allowed the entire unit to be delivered by sea, with the least carbon footprint.

The bridge was opened in August 2018.