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Business & Economy

£70 million Sunderland infrastructure project gets underway

More than 60,000 tonnes of earth, rock and concrete have been excavated to make way for a new dual carriageway in Sunderland, as the council kicks off the third phase of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC).

The new road, which aims to boost the city’s infrastructure and improve connections between communities, is part of the £1.5 billion package of investment projects that Sunderland has planned over the next five years.

The dual carriageway begins at the southern end of the Northern Spire and heads through Pallion, running underneath the Queen Alexandra Bridge, into Deptford, and onto the city centre and St Mary’s Boulevard.

The design works with the geography in the area and includes the construction of 1.2 miles of retaining walls and structures that will be nearly 40ft high.

The £35 million construction contract will be delivered by local civil engineering contractor Esh Civils, the civil engineering division of Esh Construction.

Councillor Amy Wilson, cabinet member for environment and transport and a ward member for Pallion, said: “There’s a lot going on with all these ground and excavation works. It’s already amazing to see these big and deep excavations that are many feet deep and hundreds of feet long.

“I’m very pleased to see so much of what has been excavated is being recycled and processed into new construction materials.

“There is an amazing amount of work going on behind the scenes for this investment in our city.”

Major earth removal and excavation works began in June, with 60,000 cubic tonnes of rocks, stones and old concrete being reused as engineering fill for the foundations and landscape around the new carriageway.

Andrew Georgeson, operations director at Esh Civils, added: “The site team have reached a milestone in segregating and processing such large quantities of buried structures and buildings which, with careful planning and thought, can now be reused as engineering fill for the project.

“We have a strong sustainable model for delivering this major project. All the processing work reinforces this approach by reducing our environmental impact and increasing our local specialist supply chain to assist in our success.”

Phase 2 of SSTC, which involved the construction of The Northern Spire and approach roads, was completed a year ago, opening up development opportunities and boosting connectivity.

Phase 3 will take up to 27 months to complete with a target opening of Autumn 2021.