New tunnel proving a boost for businesses

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BOSSES behind the new Tyne Tunnel say the project is helping deliver economic benefits to local businesses.

A year after the £260m project to build a second tunnel was completed, a report by the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies at Newcastle University has shown the boost it has made to the region.

Among the findings were that more than half the businesses interviewed were able to cite financial benefits following the completion of the new crossing while 70 per cent had noted a reduction in vehicle operating costs as a result.

Other findings included an improvement in employee morale, punctuality and productivity due to the reduced time it was taking staff to get to work.

The report was commission by the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority and partners North Tyneside and South Tyneside councils.

Coun David Wood, chairman of the transport authority, has welcomed the report.

He 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.”

North Tyneside Mayor Linda Arkley said: “This report confirms what I am hearing from the residents and business of North Tyneside – the second Tyne Tunnel is proving an asset to the borough and its economic growth.

“It has improved accessibility to North Tyneside for business investment and job creation opportunities, which can only be good for the borough – and the reduced congestion has certainly been welcomed by everyone I’ve spoken to.”