The £31m pedestrian and cyclist crossing will connect both sides of the Wear at Riverside Sunderland.
It will be fitted with creative lighting and augmented reality, allowing people to use their smartphones to see virtual displays that council bosses say will create ‘an experience that will really bring to life the city’s digital ambitions’.
VolkerStevin will now work for a year on refining the design and build process before work on the structure starts in summer 2022. The bridge is expected to open in summer 2024.
Planning permission was granted for the bridge in March.
It will connect the transforming former Vaux Brewery site to Sheepfolds, providing improved links to the Stadium of Light, the two University of Sunderland campuses in the city centre, and St Peter’s, and residential communities to the north of the river.
As part of the build contract, VolkerStevin has committed to £2.6m worth of social value commitments, including employing at least 15 local people on the project
Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re hugely ambitious for Sunderland, and this is the latest in a long line of transformational projects that we’re advancing with at pace at Riverside Sunderland.
“Our city centre is transforming with well over £350m worth of development projects progressing, and we’re delighted to see this important project take a significant step forward.”
Jonathan Suckling, managing director at VolkerStevin, said: “We have assembled a great team of designers and supply chain who will help us deliver this significant project and further build on our legacy of delivering major infrastructure schemes in the North East – which include other iconic bridges, such as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Northumbria University’s Intersite Bridge.”
Wear Bridge was one of the first contracts to be procured through the new NEPO civil engineering and infrastructure framework.