Tyne Tunnel General and Principal Inspections

Photo credit: TT2

The Tyne Tunnels are located between the towns of Wallsend, in North Tyneside and Jarrow, in South Tyneside. In addition to the main tunnels and service buildings the site comprises a series of highway structures, including bridges, retaining walls, gantries, and lighting masts.

In 2007 Tyne Tunnels 2 (TT2), a single purpose, UK based, concession company was officially appointed as concessionaire for the New Tyne Crossing project. TT2 is responsible for the design, build, majority finance and operation of the new vehicle tunnel, the full refurbishment of the existing vehicle tunnel, and operation of all Tyne Tunnels until 2037.

The new immersed tube tunnel became operational in 2011, with all traffic being transferred into the new tunnel to enable the original vehicle tunnel to close to traffic for approximately ten months for refurbishment. The refurbished tunnel was commissioned in 2011 to carry all northbound traffic with the new tunnel carrying southbound traffic.

TT2 appointed Rendel to undertake the general and principal inspections of the tunnel and highway structures and the tunnel mechanical and electrical (M&E) equipment to Highway Agency Standards and the ongoing level monitoring of key structures. Rendel will also provide emergency response to assess any damage to the structures in the event of an incident. Rendel was appointed in 2012 for an initial seven year period, which was subsequently extended by a year, by the consortium of Bouygues Travaux Publics, HSBC Infrastructure Fund Management Ltd and Bank of Scotland Corporate which form TT2.

Rendel successfully completed the previous phase of the general and principal inspections of the Tyne Tunnel project (from 2012 to 2020).  Rendel has been re-appointed to undertake the inspections and emergency response support initially for a second five-year period commencing in 2020 with a potential extension up to nine years, with each extension beyond the initial five-year team being on an annual basis.

Rendel is providing technical assistance to undertake the routine inspections of the structure and the M&E works for the structures, specifically:

  • Structural inspections covering both civil and M&E elements in accordance with the DMRB BD63/07 Inspection of Highway structures and DMRB BD53/95 Inspection and Records for Road Tunnels
  • Emergency/ad-hoc support on TT2 assets, including the road tunnels, bridges, retaining structures and gantries (referred to as the structures), external lighting, associated buildings
  • Emergency support to provide timely expert structural advice and guidance regarding the condition of structures following an incident
  • Monitoring of main tunnels using existing fixed indicators on an ongoing basis
  • Review of the corrosion risks and requirements for the activation of a cathodic protection system
  • Review and monitoring of safety-critical fixings