Original Tyne Tunnel workers see new river crossing

Image caption,
Some of the workers who helped to build the first Tyne Tunnel

Workers who helped build the first Tyne Tunnel have been given a VIP tour of the new multi million-pound crossing which is due to open later this month.

The first road tunnel under the River Tyne, linking North and South Tyneside, opened to traffic in 1967.

The second £260m tunnel, which has taken three years to construct, is due to open at the end of February.

Contractors hosted a special site tour of the new tunnel for some who worked on the original in the 1960s.

The existing tunnel carries more than 11m vehicles a year.

'Bad luck'

The new tunnel has been built east of the existing site between Jarrow in South Tyneside and Howden in North Tyneside.

Among those given special access to the new tunnel was Brenda Hutchinson, who worked in the drawings office of the design team for the original vehicle tunnel.

She said: "Women weren't allowed into the first tunnel when it was being built, as it was considered bad luck.

"It has been fascinating to look behind the scenes at the new tunnel and to be allowed all the way on to the site."

Nicolas Caille, project managing director for Bouygues Travaux Publics UK, the main contractor of the new tunnel, said: "I've enjoyed listening to the tales about how the first tunnel was built.

"Comparing the challenges they faced with the ones we've tackled has been fascinating. They did things very differently in the 1960s."

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