Councillor Paul Watson, Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "The bridge and its approach roads are going to open up regeneration and development sites along the River Wear and bring more investment into Sunderland.

"As a piece of infrastructure, it is one of the region's biggest civil engineering projects and an investment that is going to help create more jobs and more economic growth.

"By improving links between the A19, the city centre and the Port of Sunderland, a new bridge has always been a key part of Sunderland's ongoing regeneration.

"This announcement is great news for Sunderland and the wider region. There has been talk for a long, long time that Sunderland has needed a major new road crossing over the River Wear and it's an issue that has not gone away.

"We have now secured a development that is going to further the regeneration of our city.

"The bridge and its approach roads are about bringing significant economic, regeneration and transport benefits to our city and the wider North East region.

"We cannot overstate the massive economic, social and community impact this project is bringing. It's going to profit homes, businesses, the Port of Sunderland, help with links to the A19, and the development of the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP).

"This is a project of massive significance to everyone in Sunderland and across the North East."