The new 1.5km long tunnel of the New Tyne Crossing project has accepted traffic for the first time.
Constructed using immersed tube technology and fitted with a state-of-the-art fire suppression system, the new tunnel, which links North and South Tyneside, is considered one of the safest vehicle tunnels in Europe.
The new crossing runs parallel to the original Tyne vehicle tunnel, which was opened in 1967. The new tunnel opened to traffic at the end of February.
The project is a private public artnership. The Concessionaire, TT2 Ltd, was appointed in 2007 to design, build, finance and operate the new and existing tunnels until 2037.
Design and build contractor was Bouygues Travaux Publics and High-Point Rendel worked as one of its detailed design consultants.
Following TT2’s appointment TWITA, the project promoter, retained the services of Royal Haskoning working for lead engineer Arup, to provide specialist advice to the transport authority relating to construction of the new tunnel and associated works in the River Tyne.
Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority project director Paul Fenwick said: “I’m pleased that the new tunnel has been commissioned for use by traffic on schedule as it marks an important milestone in the project.
“When both tunnels become operational in December 2011, the New Tyne Crossing will remove the bottleneck and is expected to make a significant contribution to the economic regeneration of the A19 corridor.”