This pylon is twice as high as Gateshead's Millennium Bridge and taller than Big Ben. It will have two lanes of traffic in both directions plus dedicated cycleways and footpaths along its full length. This is in line with revised planning permission granted in August 2014.
The completion for all the works is programmed for spring 2018. The overall approved budget for the project is £117.6m, which includes all design, construction, management and land assembly costs.
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 on-going 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."
The construction contract has been awarded to a joint venture between two companies, Farrans Construction and Victor Buyck Steel Construction.