THE £260m New Tyne Crossing – completed a year ago – is beginning to pay off economically, according to a new report.
Newcastle University’s Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies interviewed 120 local businesses to assess the nature and scale of impacts resulting from the New Tyne Crossing.
Reduced travel to work times were considered by the majority of businesses to bring a range of positive impacts. Over two thirds of businesses considered that reduced travel to work times for those using the Tyne Tunnel had had a positive impact on employee morale, punctuality and productivity/effectiveness.
Just over half of businesses interviewed were able to cite financial benefits to their business resulting from the completion of the New Tyne Crossing, while more than two-thirds of the businesses with vehicle operating costs considered that the completion of the tunnels had had a positive impact on their business by reducing vehicle operating costs.
Other positive impacts included greater journey security and reliability and increased flexibility.
The New Tyne Crossing has also increased the scope for businesses to recruit from a wider catchment area, potentially reducing recruitment costs and increasingly the quality of those recruited. Several businesses identified an increased potential to recruit staff from opposite sides of the Tyne.
The report was commissioned by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, and partners North Tyneside and South Tyneside councils, to coincide with the first anniversary today of the completion of the project.
David Wood, chairman of the Transport Authority, said: “The single vehicle tunnel used to be the fourth worst traffic congestion blackspot in the UK and a major barrier to business and economic development along the A19 corridor in Tyne and Wear.
“We always believed that a second tunnel was vital to the economic prosperity of the area. This report justifies our confidence and shows there have been immediate benefits to local businesses.
“We know that the New Tyne Crossing has had a significant, even transformational, impact on the lives of commuters. As the economy picks up, I am confident that the benefits of the New Tyne Crossing will continue to multiply.”
South Tyneside councillor Gladys Hobson, chair of the Tyne Tunnels Working Group, said: “The tunnel is a tremendous feat of engineering and I am delighted we are able to show evidence that the project is already bringing benefits to local people and businesses.”
North Tyneside mayor Linda Arkley said: “This report confirms what I am hearing from the residents and businesses of North Tyneside – the second Tyne Tunnel is proving an asset to the borough and its economic growth.”