FRIDAY was a proud day and a major milestone for White Young Green (WYG) associate director Peter Wood. Seven years after WYG became involved in Stockton’s £15m North Shore footbridge, the arch was lowered into place.

The bridge, 40 meters above the River Tees, is likely to become as well-known as the Millennium Bridge across the Tyne.

But when a footbridge was first mooted, nothing as grand was envisaged.

Mr Wood said: “We have a longstanding involvement with the project, which goes back to 2001 when we were appointed by English Partnerships to project manage the reclamation of North Shore.

“Part of that was a footbridge, which at the time was just to be a standard bridge.”

Things changed when the various partners involved in North Shore decided that the development should include a landmark feature.

The North Shore development was led by Tees Valley Regeneration in partnership with national regeneration agency English Partnerships, Stockton Borough Council, One NorthEast and the European Regional Development Fund.

Mr Wood said: “A landmark was required and the partners sought this through an international design competition for the footbridge. This raised the bar in terms of design quality.”

With a number of agencies involved, Mr Wood said it was essential that they functioned as a team, but in doing so he believed something special had been delivered.

He said: “What is special about the design is that every part of the bridge has an engineering function.

“We have a structure with the vision that the designers had in the beginning, which is very satisfying, not just for ourselves but the partners.”

The views of the community were taken on board during the design and construction.

“I think what has been important is to engage the end users, that is the community in Stockton, who have been very supportive,” Mr Wood said.

It is a project that has benefited local business as well. Balfour Beatty subcontracted the fabrication and erection of the arch to Darlingtonbased Cleveland Bridge and Dorman Long, with the steel coming from Corus, on Teesside.

Despite the bridge meeting a “major milestone” with the raising of the arch, there is still some way to go before it can open to the public, probably in the spring of next year.

Mr Wood said it is something he would always be proud of.

He said: “I think we were all very proud to have the opportunity to deliver something like this. It is satisfying to have delivered, but it is even more satisfying knowing it is going to be there for many years. It is people in the future who will look back and decide if it is iconic, but I think it is heading that way.”