Tyne Dredging Completed for New Vehicle Tunnel

Work to dredge a trench in the riverbed of the Tyne for the second Tyne vehicle tunnel has been successfully completed.

The cutter suction dredger ‘Vesalius’ concluded its dredging operation in the River Tyne on schedule on 14 December 2009. The trench to accommodate the installation of the four pre-cast concrete tunnel sections that will make up the new vehicle tunnel has now been fully completed. The Vesalius was demobilised following completion of the works and was transported away from its site at Howdon Basin at the weekend.

The impact of the dredge was carefully monitored throughout the operation, using the live information transmitted from five dedicated water quality monitoring buoys. And despite several heavy rainstorms during the five week dredging period, all operations proceeded in line with guidelines set by the Environment Agency before work began.

Nicolas Caille, Project Managing Director for Bouygues Travaux Publics, the New Tyne Crossing design and build contractor, said:

"I'm very pleased with the way dredging works have gone. This is a very sensitive part of the project, and it was important to protect both the ecology of the river as well as the shipping movements along the Tyne. Overall the works surpassed expectations, and were completed in only five weeks."

Trevor Jackson, Managing Director of New Tyne Crossing Concessionaire TT2 Limited, said:

“Dredging the Tyne is one of the key parts of the project – the trench is absolutely vital to the construction of the new tunnel under the river. The operation has been a great success, and thanks to the partnership developed with Port of Tyne we have been able to pursue a far superior approach than previously planned, reusing the dredged material to infill Tyne Dock.”

Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive of the Port of Tyne said:  “This project has been all about creative thinking and partnership working.   Right from the outset we believed that using the spoil from the second Tunnel as an infill for the Tyne Dock was both an environmentally sound and a cost efficient means of creating extra land to help us achieve our aim of creating a vibrant and sustainable port. This land will give us greater flexibility in the services we provide our customers.

“So far we have partially infilled the Tyne Dock with over 300,000 cubic metres of dredged spoil and the infilling with land-based material, also from tunnel excavations, is scheduled to start early in the New Year.”

The Vesalius began dredging the Tyne on 9 November 2009 in readiness for the immersion of the four 90m long tunnel sections that have been built at Walker Dry Dock. The dry dock was flooded at the beginning of December to enable the units to be floated out of the dock early in the New Year.