timeline item
Here is the information we have
on the item you selected
More like this
sign up for our newsletter
© 2018 Engineering Timelines
engineering timelines
explore ... how   explore ... why   explore ... where   explore ... who  
home  •  NEWS  •  search  •  FAQs  •  references  •  about  •  sponsors + links
Tyne Tunnel (2011)
East Howdon to Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, UK
associated engineer
Ove Arup & Partners
Posford Haskoning
High-Point Rendel
date  April 2008 - 25th February 2011, opened officially 18th July 2012
era  Modern  |  category  Tunnel  |  reference  NZ329661
The second road tunnel under the River Tyne carries southbound traffic on the A19 roadway. It was built to relieve congestion in the original tunnel and opened in 2011, doubling the capacity. Incorporating the UK’s third immersed tube tunnel, it is the newest element of the New Tyne Crossing.
The first Tyne Tunnel opened on 19th October 1967. By 2010, it was carrying 38,000 vehicles per day — 58% more than it was designed for, and congestion was causing long delays, and increased traffic noise and air pollution.
In June 1992, a study concluded that another crossing was needed and the ideal location was later identified as adjacent to the existing Tyne Tunnel. A 1996 feasibility study assessed the merits of bridges and tunnels, and recommended an immersed tube tunnel under the river with cut and cover land tunnels as the approaches.
The Tyne Tunnels Act received royal assent in April 1998. On 8th November 1999, Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority appointed Ove Arup & Partners (Arup) as their advisors for financial, engineering, legal and property matters relating to the new tunnel. Arup began work with an environmental impact assessment and, in May 2002, issued an environmental statement.
Arup then formed a consortium with Posford Haskoning (Royal Haskoning from 2005) and others to prepare the reference design. This was used to obtain the necessary approvals and parliamentary powers to construct the tunnel, which was to be built under a private public partnership.
The second Tyne Tunnel is part of the New Tyne Crossing, which consists of the two road tunnels and the Grade II listed pedestrian and cyclist tunnels under the river. The concessionaire appointed to deliver the crossing project is responsible for (partly) financing and constructing the new tunnel, and developing the reference design into a detailed design. It also controls the operation and maintenance of all the tunnels. In return, it retains the toll revenues.
On 23rd November 2007, TT2 Ltd was appointed as the crossing's concessionaire for 30 years. TT2 Ltd is a joint venture led by Bouygues Travaux Publics, with HSBC Infrastructure Fund Management Ltd and Bank of Scotland Corporate.
Following the 2008 Local Transport Act, the Tyne & Wear Passenger Transport Authority became the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority. The transport authority will retake responsibility for all the tunnels in 2037.
In February 2008, all tunnel assets were transferred to TT2 Ltd. in April, enabling works for the new tunnel began. In June, TT2 appointed High-Point Rendel (HPR) as lead consultant for the design of the civil engineering works. A ground breaking ceremony was held on 29th October 2008, marking the start of construction.
The project has 2.6km of new carriageway, of which 1.5km is in the new tunnel. The complex geology of the site dictated that the tunnel has seven different cross-sections, comprising five variants of cut and cover tunnel, an immersed tube and some spayed-concrete lined tunnel. The whole 1.5km contains two traffic lanes and a walled 1.5m wide escape/service corridor.
Associated works to the north of the tunnel included the removal of a roundabout and the construction of a ten-lane toll plaza (NZ330667) on the southbound carriageway. A bus lane allows buses to bypass toll booths.
On the north bank, the 330m long reinforced concrete cut and cover approach has a 6% downward gradient to the river. The cut is constructed with 1.2m thick diaphragm walls up to 32m deep. Where the new tunnel crosses the original one (NZ331663), west of the A187, the diaphragm walls are much shorter, forming a box with the top and bottom slabs.
The 360m immersed tube tunnel is laid in a trench dredged across the river bed, backfilled and topped by rock armour. It is made of four 90m long rectangular precast concrete tubes 15m wide and 8.5m deep, each containing some 3,250 tonnes of steel and 10,000 tonnes of concrete.
Dredging the trench took place in November and December 2009. The 118m long cutter suction dredger Vesalius removed spoil from the channel and pumped the arisings directly into Tyne Dock (NZ352655), 2km to the east. The dock was being infilled as part of the Port of Tyne's redevelopment plans. More than one million tonnes of material from the Tyne Tunnel project was used — 80% from dredging and 20% from the land excavations.
The tubes were constructed at Neptune Dry Dock (NZ299654) in Wallsend, some 3km west of the main site. They were cast in 20m long sections on a bed of gravel profiled to match the dredged trench, using travelling formwork mounted on rails. The dock was only just large enough to contain all four tubes — with a clearance of 380mm at the narrowest point.
Each tube, sealed with temporary bulkheads, was floated out of the dry dock on a spring tide and towed to Howdon Basin. Each one was sunk into position on a neap tide, using the 400 tonne floating barge Dina M. All four were placed during the first quarter of 2010.
The 810m reinforced concrete south approach tunnel has a 5% gradient down to the river. Three stretches of cut and cover with retained diaphragm walls 1.2m thick take up 425m, separated by two short lengths of bored tunnel with sprayed concrete linings. These sections of tunnel run closely below existing services — high-pressure gas mains and an interceptor sewer — so minimal ground disturbance was vital. The remaining 400m of tunnel to the south portal consists of cut and cover with walls of 1m diameter secant piles, and a length of box section placed in open cut adjacent to the original tunnel.
Problems of ground uplift in the deep excavations on the tunnel approaches have been mitigated by using a layer of interlocking expanded polystyrene sections. It is designed to take up ground movements by collapsing at a predetermined load, preventing forces being transmitted to the concrete structures.
The south tunnel portals have been extended to reduce noise and improve air quality. The existing Howard Street overbridge carrying the A185 was demolished, and the street realigned to pass over both tunnels. A new concrete road bridge has been constructed slightly to the north of the old one.
The existing ventilation chimney (NZ329655) and related infrastructure near Chaytor Street have been remodelled. An additional ventilation shaft (NZ333649) has been built within the new Jarrow Interchange, which replaces an earlier roundabout and connects the A19 to the local road network.
The Tyne Tunnel is the first new tunnel in the UK fitted with a sprinkler system for fighting fires. Halcrow was responsible for designing the mechanical and electrical systems, including ventilation, fire and incident detection, fire suppression, traffic control, electrical supply arrangements, drainage and lighting. In February 2011, the tunnel’s safety system was tested successfully with a full-scale simulated accident.
The new Tyne Tunnel was commissioned for public use at midnight on 25th February 2011, after a construction period of less than three years. The new tunnel carried bi-directional traffic until November 2011, while the 1967 tunnel was undergoing full refurbishment. Both tunnels were fully operational on 21st November 2011.
On 18th July 2012, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the new Tyne Tunnel — almost 45 years after opening the original road tunnel.
Main contractor: Bouygues Travaux Publics
Cut and cover tunnels: Bachy Soletranche
Immersed tube tunnel: Volker Stevin Marine
Travelling formwork: RMD Kwikform
Research: ECPK
"A tale of two tunnels: delivering the New Tyne Crossing" by Paul Fenwick, Cliff Jessett, David Dingwall and Malcolm Shaw, in Civil Engineering, Vol.165, pp.27-34, London, February 2012
"New Tyne Crossing, Newcastle, joint venture of bored and immersed tunnel completes the link" by J.C.W.M. de Wit and T.J. Fay, in (Re) Claiming the Underground Space: Proceedings of the ITA World Tunnelling Congress 2003, Amsterdam, 12-17th April 2003
"New Tyne Crossing Environmental Statement", Ove Arup & Partners Ltd, London, May 2002

Tyne Tunnel (2011)