Plans to commission Frank Gehry to design a bridge over the River Wear in Sunderland are facing a major set back, the AJ has learned.
The final decision to sign up the Los Angeles-based architect - which was expected by the end of this month - has been delayed by new plans to carry out a transport and road study in the city.
If the idea, which would have been at the centre of a major regeneration push, does get the go-ahead, it will now not be signed off until the end of the summer.
David Walker, head of operations at the regeneration agency Sunderland Arc, said the road study would look into the feasibility of a new bridge.
'We are currently examining options for the best road traffic solutions to lead people into the centre of Sunderland, ' he said.
'These options include the construction of a new road bridge across the River Wear and how suitable the existing road networks are in relation to future traffic demands on them, once our regeneration plans start on the ground.
'Once the results of that are known, a decision will be made on the best river crossing route and where there needs to be an additional road link into Sunderland city centre, ' Walker added.