Prior to his pending retirement in May 2017, Prison Ombudsman Tom McGonigle talks to David Whelan about the role of his office and the latest annual report. In March 2016, the Northern Ireland Assembly passed legislation to support placing the Prisoner Ombudsman for Northern Ireland on a statutory footing. Tom McGonigle believes this is a...
Farrans’ Stephen McCaffrey (left) on site in Sunderland with Moore Concrete’s Richard Whiteside as the new bridge over the River Wear continues to take shape behind them.
It has taken almost half a million man hours to bring the construction of the new cable-stayed bridge across the River Wear, at Sunderland, to its half way completion point. “This is a landmark project for the Sunderland area, one which will drive forward the strategic development of the city, from both a regeneration and future investment perspective,” confirms Farrans’ Stephen McCaffrey, the project director.
Belfast-based Farrans Construction is delivering this unique £117 million development as part of a joint venture with the Belgian steel fabrication company Victor Buyck. The project also involves the significant input of other locally-based companies with an involvement in the construction and engineering sectors, chief among them Ballymena-based Moore Concrete Products Ltd.
The bridge, when completed, will be 336m long and will facilitate two lanes of traffic on either carriageway along with a 3m wide shared cycleway – footway on each side of the bridge. Also included in the development will be 2.8km of new carriageway. It is at the heart of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor and site works commenced in May 2015.
Recently the first phase of the bridge decking has been launched across the river. “This represents a critical stage in the development of the overall project,” added McCaffrey. “The pylon, which will be pre-fabricated in Belgium, should arrive with us on a specialised barge in early 2017. Its erection will follow almost immediately thereafter, which should allow us complete the bridge and adjacent road carriageways by early 2018.
“I can confirm that the project is on schedule to be completed on time. This is good news for the people of Sunderland and for all the companies involved in the development of what is a truly iconic bridge structure.”