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Decision on £170m tunnel after election

CONTRACTS TYNE SIDE

FOUR teams are holding their breath for a post-election decision on a £170 million project to build a second Tyne tunnel.

Connect North East (Balfour Beatty and Volker Stevin) T4 (Nuttall, Mowlem and Vinci) Tyneside Link (John Laing, Laing O'Rourke and Hochtief ) and a team led by Bouygues are all in the fray for the PFI scheme.

But tender documents will remain with client Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority until transport secretary Alistair Darling gives the project the thumbs up - now expected after the general election.

The authority wants to build a 1.5 km immersed-tube tunnel.This will involve dredging a trench and sinking concrete sections into it.

Completion of the tunnel, which will run from East Howden to Jarrow, has been delayed by three years to 2009.