Balfour Beatty Civil Engineering has been awarded a contract to align a key road in Sunderland to boost a major redevelopment in the city.

The work forms part of a £13 million revamp of the former Vaux brewery which was laid out the local authority in late October. Balfour Beatty will be tasked with the realignment and construction of a two-lane dual carriageway/boulevard which will stretch along 500 m on the A183 Livingstone Road and St Mary's Way. The site has been under much discussion since the brewery ceased production in 2000 and was subsequently demolished. It has been unused on the edge of Sunderland's city centre and now plans are taking shape to bring the site back to life.

Vaux was Sunderland's signature beer and was brewed in the north-east since 1837. It created brands such as Double Maxim, Scorpion Lager and Lambton's Ale. Since the company's closure on Wearside, the former ale has been revived and stocked in pubs across Sunderland as well as a number of major supermarkets. The brand was also the city's football team shirt sponsor throughout the 1990s until it was succeeded by car dealer Reg Vardy for 1999/2000 season.

The council purchased the Vaux site, which covers 26 acres, in 2011, and has been looking to convert it into a business district. Plans have been delayed numerous times but after the award of the deal to Balfour Beatty, work is due to get underway in due course. It marks the end of a long-running battle between the local authority and Tesco for the ownership of the land.

Speaking about the latest plans, a council spokesman said: “The new road is designed to simplify traffic flow and improve the connection between Vaux, the city centre and the rest of Sunderland. The boulevard design would provide wider footways, a tree planted central reservation and a dedicated bus lane.

"Realignment of St Mary’s Way would also free up space to create a high quality pedestrianised public area, suitable for events or public gatherings."

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