Tunnel concessionaire TT2, a consortium led by French contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics, begun preliminary works on the 1.6km tunnel in April, and is set to begin the cut and cover section of the structure this summer.
It handed Volker Stevin Marine the £16M contract to manufacture, transport and submerse the tunnel units that will form the structure’s 360m immersed tube section.
The contract involves the construction of four 90m long split sections of rectangular pre-cast and reinforced concrete tunnelling, which are 8.5m by 15m in size and altogether will require 14,400 cubic metres of concrete.
The tunnel sections will be built in the dry dock before being floated down the Tyne adjacent to the existing tunnel where they are expected to be submerged in Autumn 2009.
"Although this tunnelling technique has not been used extensively in the UK our marine specialist staff have been using this sort of technology in Europe for many years," said Volker Stevin managing director Paul Roebuck.
The new Tyne crossing will run parallel to the existing Tyne Tunnel between East Howdon on the north bank of the River Tyne and Jarrow on the south bank of the River Tyne. The new tunnel will carry all southbound traffic, whilst the existing tunnel will carry all northbound traffic.
"Doubling the capacity of the Tyne Tunnel will be a key factor in the future regeneration and development of north and south Tyneside, alleviating a notable bottleneck on the A19," said Bouygues Travaux Publics UK director Nicolas Caille.
Meanwhile, consultant Halcrow has also been appointed to design the mechanical and electrical (M&E) systems for the New Tyne Crossing. The M&E design will include tunnel-related aspects of ventilation, fire and incident detection, fire suppression, traffic control, electrical supply arrangements, drainage and lighting.