River Section Project Update: April 2009

Construction of the second vehicle tunnel under the Tyne, part of the £260 million New Tyne Crossing project, is well underway.

Either side of the River Tyne, in East Howdon and Jarrow, diaphragm walls are currently being built to provide the reinforced underground space within which the new tunnel will be built. On both riversides, transition structures are under construction. These will provide the connection between the cut-and-cover section of the tunnel that will pass through Jarrow and East Howdon, and the immersed tube section of the new tunnel, which will run beneath the River Tyne.

The tunnel elements that will make up the immersed tube river section of the New Tyne Crossing are being built at Wallsend dry dock, upstream of the main construction site. Four pre-cast reinforced concrete elements are being constructed on behalf of main design and build contractor, Bouygues Travaux Publics, by Gateshead-based VolkerStevin Marine.

Each tunnel element comprises four segments and requires a different concrete pour for the floors and for the walls and roofs.

All four tunnel elements are partially constructed and are due to be completed by Autumn 2009, ready for towing and lowering into place during winter 2009/2010.

TT2 is the Concessionaire appointed to deliver the New Tyne Crossing project under a 30-year Private Public Partnership with project promoter the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA).

Managing Director, Trevor Jackson, said: “This is only the third tunnel of its kind in the UK and there is understandably a great deal of interest in the project. Both Bouygues Travaux Publics and their subcontractor VolkerStevin Marine, have excellent experience in this type of construction and I am impressed with the progress being made at the dry dock.

“TT2 is working closely with the residents living near the dock to make sure that they are happy with the way that the work is progressing, with minimal disruption, and also to give them the chance to feel part of the project. This is local history in the making and it should belong to local people.”

Paul Fenwick of the TWITA said: “The dualling of the strategic A19 highway is key to the future prosperity of local communities and the wider region. The TWITA and its partners, North Tyneside and South Tyneside Councils, look forward to the successful completion of the project and to delivering great economic benefits to Tyne & Wear.”

Nicolas Caille, Bouygues Travaux Publics Project Director, explained:
“We are delighted that we were able to find a local dry dock that could accommodate this important part of the project. We had looked at dry docks at a number of locations nationally and abroad, but our aim is always to try to find local solutions if possible. With careful preparation we have successfully brought back into use the Wallsend dry dock site, which had been unused for quite some time.”

Gerrit Smit, Project Manager for VolkerStevin Marine, added: “We are pleased with progress on site; we now have more than 100 people working on site every day doing everything from concrete pouring to steelfixing and joinery.  This is a multi-disciplinary site with many specialist skills being employed.  All those working on the site are delighted to be helping deliver such a prestigious project.”

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.