Tyne's second road tunnel to open
The second road tunnel under the River Tyne is due to be opened to traffic at midnight on Friday.
The £260m project has taken three years to complete and will eventually operate alongside the existing Tyne Tunnel, which was opened in 1967.
The new tunnel will initially have one lane of traffic in each direction between Jarrow in South Tyneside and Howdon in North Tyneside.
The existing tunnel will close for about 10 months to be refurbished.
David Wood, chairman of the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA), said: "It is incredibly exciting to be on the brink of this milestone event for the New Tyne Crossing project.
"As only the third tunnel of its kind in Britain we should not underestimate the achievement that has been made in reaching this stage.
"The commissioning of the new road tunnel represents the culmination of many years of planning, of considerable financial investment, and of almost three years of civil engineering works.
"To see traffic flowing through the new tunnel will be a momentous occasion for the project, and for the people of Tyne and Wear."
Trevor Jackson, managing director of TT2, who will manage the new tunnel, added: "This fantastic, state-of-the-art facility will offer motorists an improved driving experience from day one, and provides the North East with an engineering achievement to be proud of."
Main construction work for the second tunnel began in October 2008.
The existing tunnel has carried an average of 11m vehicles a year.