Sunderland’s bridge too far

August 31, 2012 4:17 PM

Sunderland City Council appears determined to press ahead with their astronomically expensive answer to the Golden Gate Bridge despite condemnation of its design and cost by experts. The Wear Bridge, which is in the middle of an industrial estate, has fervent cross-party support on a council eager to embark on a taxpayer funded spending binge to construct a vanity project of highly dubious efficacy and structural merit.

The design, which been lambasted by numerous experts, is expected to cost a whopping £133million – a truly eye-watering figure considering that the far larger and more useful Zakim bridge in Boston in the United States was built on time for half the cost. £31m of this will come from Sunderland City Council’s coffers whilst the Department for Transport will cough up the rest.

In their unrelenting efforts to force through the wasteful white elephant, the council conducted a public consultation. This was however a thinly-veiled rubber stamp which only offered a choice between two designs, rather than a choice on location, or whether a bridge was needed at all. Just 1,700 of Sunderland’s 280,000 inhabitants responded in favour of the “iconic” design.

Residents of Sunderland will be well aware that the city’s other 3 road bridges are rarely, if ever at capacity and that the Wear Bridge will merely funnel traffic off an existing road into the city centre. Despite vehement expert objection to the bridge on both financial and functional grounds, work has already begun on the project which is due for completion in 2015. Taxpayers can only hope that that the Department for Transport pulls the plug on this “scandalous waste of public funds” during a time of (supposed) austerity.Sunderland City Council appears determined to press ahead with their astronomically expensive answer to the Golden Gate Bridge despite condemnation of its design and cost by experts. The Wear Bridge, which is in the middle of an industrial estate, has fervent cross-party support on a council eager to embark on a taxpayer funded spending binge to construct a vanity project of highly dubious efficacy and structural merit.

The design, which been lambasted by numerous experts, is expected to cost a whopping £133million – a truly eye-watering figure considering that the far larger and more useful Zakim bridge in Boston in the United States was built on time for half the cost. £31m of this will come from Sunderland City Council’s coffers whilst the Department for Transport will cough up the rest.

In their unrelenting efforts to force through the wasteful white elephant, the council conducted a public consultation. This was however a thinly-veiled rubber stamp which only offered a choice between two designs, rather than a choice on location, or whether a bridge was needed at all. Just 1,700 of Sunderland’s 280,000 inhabitants responded in favour of the “iconic” design.

Residents of Sunderland will be well aware that the city’s other 3 road bridges are rarely, if ever at capacity and that the Wear Bridge will merely funnel traffic off an existing road into the city centre. Despite vehement expert objection to the bridge on both financial and functional grounds, work has already begun on the project which is due for completion in 2015. Taxpayers can only hope that that the Department for Transport pulls the plug on this “scandalous waste of public funds” during a time of (supposed) austerity.

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