IT’S on its way.

More than 50 years after the need for a second crossing at Poole Harbour was first raised, and following two decades of campaigning, planning and setbacks, Poole’s Twin Sails Bridge is coming together in the north east.

The £37 million structure is set to be completed this time next year and, all being well, sections will start arriving – 25 lorry loads in all – in the spring for assembly to start.

The Daily Echo joined a contingent from Borough of Poole to visit the factory where it is being built and these pictures are the first glimpse of what civic chiefs hope will become an icon.

Poole’s bridge is coming to life at Cleveland Bridge’s vast site in Darlington. Amid the noise of clanking metal, the dust and the smell of welding, thousands of pieces of steel with the number 580 – the code for the Poole project – sit waiting to take their place.

Cleveland Bridge has worked on record-breaking projects around the world – including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Humber Bridge and the Tsing Ma Bridge in Hong Kong – since 1877. The Twin Sails Bridge will be constructed by Hochtief.

Cllr Ron Parker, cabinet member for transport, said: “It’s a dream becoming a reality.”

Council leader Cllr Elaine Atkinson, added: “It’s so exciting. Now we’ve seen all the little bits and what each bit is going to do. It’s just monumental.”

A highlight of the visit was a chance to see the sails coming together.

Cllr Atkinson added: “The next time we see that, it will be ready to be raised in Poole.

“It’s such a feat of engineering, it’s huge – it feels surreal.”

The bridge will unlock 26 hectares of brown field land for regeneration in Hamworthy and the town centre and the council says it will provide 2,000 homes and up to 5,000 jobs in the next 10-15 years.

The group also visited the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, known as the Blinking Eye Bridge, which spans the Tyne between Newcastle and Gateshead, and has helped revitalise that area as a cultural centre.

Speaking at the Cleveland Bridge factory, Jim Bright, strategic director at Borough of Poole, said: “We’re not building the cheapest bridge we could have built, but we’re building the one we thought was right for the town.

“We’re building a bridge that reflects the ambition.”