Arup leads design team for new £31m Wear footbridge

Arup to lead design for new £31m pedestrian and cycle crossing on the River Wear in Sunderland.

Arup has been appointed to lead an expert design team to help deliver the new £31m pedestrian and cycle crossing on the River Wear in Sunderland.

The global engineering and consulting firm will work closely with contractor VolkerStevin and has assembled an experienced team including specialist bridge architects Knight Architects and local landscape architects Colour.

The team will bring its technical expertise and local knowledge to deliver a bridge in line with the overall vision for the project, as outlined by Sunderland City Council. VolkerStevin was named as the partner to deliver the bridge in September 2021.  

This project is a central part of Sunderland’s new Riverside Park and will provide connectivity between Sheepfolds and the city centre as part of the Riverside Sunderland Masterplan, led by the council and backed with £100m by Legal & General.

Arup will use digital 3D models to develop the design and consider its integration with surrounding areas, as well as ensuring sustainability is at the heart of the development. This will include minimising the bridge’s carbon impact, reducing any impacts on the biodiversity of the river environment both during construction and throughout the lifetime of the bridge.

The bridge, expected to open in 2024, will incorporate the completion of the Keel Line connection between Keel Square and the Stadium of Light to encourage walking and cycling in and around Riverside Sunderland by carefully considering people’s experience of the bridge.

The new footbridge will use a simple aesthetic to enhance the riverside development, complementing other crossings. It will include creative lighting, illuminating the green spaces which flank the riverside below.  

Rachel Hurdman, project manager at Arup, said: "This is an important project for the local area and an exemplar of sustainable, people-focussed design. Our design and engineering experts will be leading the design process with cutting-edge design and engineering to provide a new strategic link for the people of Sunderland.”

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