Civic leaders meet under the Tyne - Celebration of new tunnel link

It was the first time that anyone other than construction workers and those directly involved in the project will have been able to walk from one end of the new tunnel to the other.

Civic leaders Linda Arkley (Elected Mayor of North Tyneside) and Councillor Iain Malcolm (Leader, South Tyneside Council) were joined by MPs Stephen Hepburn (Jarrow), Alan Campbell (Tynemouth) and Mary Glindon (North Tyneside) to celebrate the creation of the new link.

TWITA Project Director Paul Fenwick discusses tunnel construction with Linda Arkley (Elected Mayor of North Tyneside)

TWITA Project Director Paul Fenwick discusses tunnel construction with Linda Arkley Elected Mayor of North Tyneside

They were welcomed by Councillor David Wood, Chairman of the New Tyne Crossing promoter, the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority; Trevor Jackson, Managing Director of Concessionaire TT2; and Nicolas Caille, Project Director of design and build contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics.

Councillor Wood said: “Today is a major milestone in the construction of the second vehicle tunnel which forms such a major part of the overall project.

“The reason for the second vehicle tunnel is improve connectivity between North Tyneside and South Tyneside so that people are able to access job opportunities more readily, and businesses are better able to trade.

“The fact that one can now walk the length of the new tunnel signals a brighter future for both boroughs and for Tyne and Wear as a whole.

”The new tunnel is a marvel of engineering and I am sure the delegations from both boroughs will be impressed with the skill and expertise that has gone into bringing the project this far.”

Councillor Iain Malcolm said: "A second vehicle tunnel under the Tyne will go a long way to improving connectivity between residents of South Tyneside and job opportunities.

“The main construction phase of the second tunnel has been carried out with great care and consideration for the people of Jarrow and I give my heartfelt thanks to Bouygues, TT2 and TWITA for the sensitivity they have shown in managing such a demanding and complex project.

“I look forward to the completion of the New Tyne Crossing in December 2011 when both tunnels will be fully operational."

Linda Arkley said: “The new Tyne Tunnel will reduce congestion  for both public transport, haulage and car users on this major route  and  it will also  improve transport links to development  areas along the A19, which will benefit the regional economy and provide opportunities for  jobs and  businesses.

“I have particularly been impressed with the excellent management of the project throughout, particularly the involvement of the local community at every step of the way.”

Trevor Jackson said: “I’m delighted that so many of our neighbours have been able to join us today to celebrate this significant achievement. This is not only a great engineering milestone; it also represents an important milestone for the people of North and South Tyneside.

“We are one step closer to opening up access and freeing up movement through the region with the new crossing, and it is fitting that our neighbours are here to commemorate it with us.”

Civic leaders Linda Arkley (Elected Mayor of North Tyneside) and Councillor Iain Malcolm (Leader, South Tyneside Council) exchange gifts as they met mid river

Civic leaders Linda Arkley (Elected Mayor of North Tyneside) and Councillor Iain Malcolm (Leader, South Tyneside Council) exchange gifts as they met mid river

Nicolas Caille said: “It gives me an incredible sense of pride to see so many people gathered here today to make the first official journey through the new vehicle tunnel. A great deal of hard work has brought us this far and there is still some way to go before we are ready to open to traffic, but we are making excellent progress and look forward to opening the new tunnel in February next year.”

The new tunnel is expected to be open to traffic in February 2011 at which point the existing tunnel will close for refurbishment. Both tunnels are expected to be fully operational in December 2011.

Under the river Tyne as North and South Tyneside meet for milestone in construction.


Under the river Tyne as North and South Tyneside meet for milestone in construction.