Ceremony for start of construction new tunnel

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn today (Wednesday, October 29) took the controls of an excavator in a ceremony to celebrate the start of work on the second Tyne vehicle tunnel. The ceremony took place near to the site of the former Gas Light Public House in Jarrow. Also taking part were Councillor Tom Hanson, chairman of the Tyne Tunnels Working Group; John Harrison, elected mayor of North Tyneside; and Trevor Jackson, managing director of tunnels concessionaire TT2.

Contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics has spent the past eight months preparing the 3km long site for the start of construction, while detailed design works began back in June 2007.

On the banks of river, the new tunnel will be built using mainly traditional cut-and-cover techniques. Two small sections in Jarrow will use sprayed concrete lining technique to avoid the need to re-route utilities such as the main interceptor sewer.

The next phase will see the start of dredging in the River Tyne in January in preparation for the immersion of pre-cast concrete tunnel sections which are being built in a dry dock a few miles upstream.

The second tunnel is a key part of the £260 million New Tyne Crossing capital project which also includes the refurbishment of the existing vehicle tunnel.

The entire project is expected to be finished by December 2011, completing the dualling of the A19 from its junction with the A1 at Seaton Burn in Northumberland to North Yorkshire.

The project is entirely self-financing.