Watch our animation showing how the New Wear Crossing will be constructed.

Completion is on target for Spring 2018 but the start of 2017 will mark a significant milestone in the construction of the bridge - the impressive 105m A-frame pylon will be floated from Belgium on a giant barge before being slowly hoisted into position on the river.

Twice as high as Nelson's Column and taller than Big Ben's clock tower, it will arrive into the Port of Sunderland and will then be slowly transported up the River Wear in a carefully planned phase of work.

It will take several hours to raise the pylon and secure it in place, creating a spectacle for the people of Sunderland to watch, but in the meantime, the team has produced a fascinating animation showing the three-year bridge-building process.

The new bridge will cross the River Wear between Wessington Way in Castletown and European Way in Pallion.

It is the first bridge to be built over the Wear in Sunderland for more than 40 years and is part of the wider strategic transport plan to link the Port of Sunderland and city centre with the A19.

David Abdy, Project Director for Sunderland City Council, said independent economic studies indicated that every £1 invested in construction resulted in £2.84 of economic benefit to the economy.

He said: "When linked with the wider improvements planned for the road network as part of the Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor (SSTC), the New Wear Crossing will be a key economic driver for future investment in the city.

"The project will help to create thousands of new jobs at development sites along the riverside corridor, will bring new business opportunities to the city centre and the Port of Sunderland, will reduce congestion and improve journey times, and will improve public transport in the city.

"It will also be a striking landmark and feature. It will be something for the people of Sunderland to be really proud of."