The aim of the project was to dual the A19 beneath the Tyne by constructing a second road tunnel. The new road tunnel provides southbound traffic with two lanes, whilst the original refurbished tunnel consists of two lanes of traffic for northbound travellers.
Elected Mayor for North Tyneside, Mrs. Linda Arkley, said: “This is a pivotal event for North Tyneside, and for the region as a whole. Now that we have two vehicle tunnels carrying traffic under the Tyne – supported by the initial improvements to the junction at Silverlink – we will see a transformation of traffic flow on the A19, making a huge difference for drivers who use the route.”
She added: “The TT2 project has provided us with an enviable link to the south of the region, which can only encourage more people to live, shop and do business here – and that is fantastic news for the borough.”
As the flow of traffic has almost quadrupled from 24,000 vehicles to an estimated 80,000, the implementation of two road tunnels will help to reduce congestion dramatically. It is only the third project of its kind in Britain and has already saved motorists both time and money on their daily commute. This is welcome news for motorists, as a May 2011 Inrix Traffic Services survey previously identified the Tyne Tunnel as the fourth worst traffic hotspot in the UK.
Chairman of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, Councillor David Wood, said: “I look forward to not hearing the Tyne Tunnels mentioned on every traffic bulletin as a pinch-point on the region’s roads!
“This milestone is the culmination of a lot of hard work by thousands of people. I pay tribute especially to the contribution made by the Concessionaire TT2, by the contractor Bouygues and all of its sub-contractors, and by the Transport Authority’s team in enabling the project to be delivered ahead of schedule.
“I also look forward to the tunnels contributing to the economic growth of the area, and improving the links between people and job opportunities.”
The Merit Group operates across a number of leading sectors, including pharmaceutical, healthcare, process technologies and the nuclear industry.
For the New Tyne Crossing project, the company provided the prefabrication and installation of pipe work systems, including fire main and drainage. The Merit Group worked on the new tunnel for six months, with an additional eight months spent on the refurbished tunnel.
Merit Group Managing Director, Anthony Wells, said: “The Merit Group prides itself on delivering a quality, on-time and competitively priced product.
“The company is diverse, can handle technologically challenging projects and is always adaptable.”