Thursday, July 31, 2008
Rosie Winterton said:
"This new investment underlines the Government's commitment to delivering major improvements in the North East.
"The Metro is an iconic system, with a vital role to play for people travelling in and around Tyne and Wear. Almost £300 million will be spent to upgrade this service and ensure smoother running trains, better stations, better services and better provision of information to customers.
"I am also pleased that we are able to support Sunderland's proposal to create a crucial new crossing over the River Wear with nearly £98 million in Government funding. This will create a much-needed new gateway into the City centre, alleviate the congestion currently experienced at crossing points and make a major contribution to regeneration along the river corridor."
The Tyne and Wear package will pave the way for a reinvigoration of the service, with upgrades to ageing infrastructure and rolling stock. It is part of an important package of measures to create a more modern and reliable service that is secure and comfortable for the people who use it.
Sunderland's plans for a new crossing consist of building a new four-lane multi-user bridge between Claxheugh and Castletown to accommodate road traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. It will create a new gateway linking the A19 trunk road with the City centre and Port of Sunderland, improving access to key employment locations, reducing congestion and enhancing regeneration along the river corridor.
It will also include the provision of bus lanes on Wearmouth Bridge and the upgrading of the signalised Southern Bridgehead Roundabout.
Today's decision means that Sunderland City Council can move forward with detailed planning for the scheme, including obtaining all the necessary statutory procedures, so that main construction works can potentially begin in late 2011, with completion in Spring 2014.