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21 November 2011, 07:32
After years of delays and roadworks, the second Tyne Tunnel finally opens connecting East Howden with Jarrow.
The £260 million new Tyne Crossing has become fully operational as refurbishment of the 1967-built road tunnel is completed two weeks ahead of schedule.
After four years of construction, and more than ten years of planning, there's now two vehicular Tyne Tunnels, to alleviate congestion at the UK's fourth worst traffic blackspot.
The New Tyne Crossing project saw a new vehicle tunnel come into use in February this year. At the same time the original road tunnel closed to traffic to begin a major refurbishment.
The transformation of the original road tunnel has involved construction of a separate "clean air" escape passage for pedestrians, and installation of leading edge fire safety technology.
The Tyne Tunnels are the first road tunnels in the UK to feature a Fixed Fire Suppression System, creating the safest tunnels in the country for motorists.
Main construction work for the second vehicle tunnel began in October 2008. It was built using immersed tube technology, and is only the third tunnel of its kind in the UK to be built using this technique.
Both tunnels connect the A19 in East Howdon north of the Tyne with the A19 through Jarrow in the south.