Tyne Tunnel wins top civil engineering award

The £260 million New Tyne Crossing, completed in November 2011, has taken the top civil engineering gong at the British Construction Industry Awards in London, holding off competition from projects across the UK.

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The judges said the project, on which VolkerStevin Marine was contracted to manufacture, transport and immerse the tunnel units, was "a demanding, challenging and highly complex project which epitomises excellence in safety, quality, design, innovation and community relations."

The New Tyne Crossing won the Major Civils Project Award (over £50 million) for the whole crossing, which comprised a new 1.5km tunnel and a major refurbishment of the existing 1960s built Tyne Tunnel to provide two traffic lanes in each direction and a threefold increase in capacity.

Specialist contractor VolkerStevin Marine completed the £16m contract for the manufacture, transportation and submersion of the tunnel units using immersed tube technology in 2010. 

The contract involved the construction of four 90 metre long split sections of rectangular pre-cast and reinforced concrete tunnelling, which are 8.5 metres by 15 metres in size and altogether required 14,400 cubic metres of concrete.  These units were then floated down the River Tyne, before being submersed on to the river bed in exactly the right place at exactly the right angle to create the new tunnel.

Rachel Turnbull, CEO of TT2 Limited, the Project Concessionaire, said "We are absolutely delighted that the New Tyne Crossing has been recognised with this major award. We already know that the two Tyne Tunnels have transformed motoring in the North East. Customers tell us that the tunnels have changed their lives. To receive such high level recognition for the engineering aspects of the tunnels is absolutely fantastic, and a credit to all involved."

Nicolas Caille, Project Director for main Design and Build Contractor Bouygues Travaux Publics UK, said: "Bouygues is extremely proud to have delivered an award winning scheme for the people of the North East. For such a distinguished and high profile judging panel to rate the New Tyne Crossing project as the best in the country is incredible. This reflects the determined effort and cooperation between all parties to deliver a project we could be proud of. We hope that the rest of the North East share our pride."  

Rob Coupe, managing director of VolkerStevin, said: "This is a fantastic accolade for the project and we are delighted to have been part of the team which helped design and deliver such an impressive construction scheme.  It really was a feat of engineering and one of the first of its kind in the UK.  We all have something to be very proud of."

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