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2008-07-31 DfT-002
Department for Transport


£400m Government investment in North East transport

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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

£400m Government investment in North East transport

31 Jul 2008 11:31
source Department for Transport
type Press release

note DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT News Release (130) issued by The Government News Network on 31 July 2008

Major renewals on the Tyne and Wear Metro and plans for a new river crossing in Sunderland have been given the green light today, after Transport Minister Rosie Winterton announced a new funding package of around £400 million for these important North East schemes.

Rosie Winterton said:

"This new investment underlines the Government's commitment to delivering major improvements in the North East.

"The Metro is an iconic system, with a vital role to play for people travelling in and around Tyne and Wear. Almost £300 million will be spent to upgrade this service and ensure smoother running trains, better stations, better services and better provision of information to customers.

"I am also pleased that we are able to support Sunderland's proposal to create a crucial new crossing over the River Wear with nearly £98 million in Government funding. This will create a much-needed new gateway into the City centre, alleviate the congestion currently experienced at crossing points and make a major contribution to regeneration along the river corridor."

The Tyne and Wear package will pave the way for a reinvigoration of the service, with upgrades to ageing infrastructure and rolling stock. It is part of an important package of measures to create a more modern and reliable service that is secure and comfortable for the people who use it.

Sunderland's plans for a new crossing consist of building a new four-lane multi-user bridge between Claxheugh and Castletown to accommodate road traffic, pedestrians and cyclists. It will create a new gateway linking the A19 trunk road with the City centre and Port of Sunderland, improving access to key employment locations, reducing congestion and enhancing regeneration along the river corridor.

It will also include the provision of bus lanes on Wearmouth Bridge and the upgrading of the signalised Southern Bridgehead Roundabout.

Today's decision means that Sunderland City Council can move forward with detailed planning for the scheme, including obtaining all the necessary statutory procedures, so that main construction works can potentially begin in late 2011, with completion in Spring 2014.

Notes to Editors

1. The Tyne and Wear Metro system was opened in 1980, and built largely on the former local heavy rail network.

2. Today's funding announcement is part of an initial approval package. It means that Nexus can commence the procurement of an operating franchise.

3. Total funding for 2010-2019 is expected to be between £291 million and £346 million, depending on the second stage of work.

4. Nexus will now be able to bid for new rounds of funding for asset renewal on a three year rolling basis, to increase funding certainty to between six and nine years.

5. Nexus is the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive and administers funds on behalf of the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authority.

6. Nexus' Metro Re-Invigoration plans are split into three phases, covering the next 20 years. These are:

7. Phase 1: This scheme was granted conditional approval in January 2008, and promoters expect to submit a full approval bid later this year.The bid includes more than £50 million of investment in new ticket machines and barriers, a new station at Simonside, rebuilding of Haymarket station and refurbishment at Sunderland station.

8. Phase 2: Beginning in April 2010 and lasting nine years, this will include modernising Metro stations, creating a new communications system, modernising overhead power lines, overhauling 160 year old bridges and tunnels, and refurbishing the 90 Metrocars that make up the train fleet.

9. Phase 3: Starting in 2019, following further negotiations, to cover new Metrocars, a new signalling system and further investment in ticket machines, track, overhead lines, structures and stations.

10. Best value for money for both local passengers and the taxpayer will be ensured through a market tested procurement process, where an operating company will be chosen to lead the Metro through the next nine years. This operating company is likely to be chosen next year, and bidders will come from both the public and private sector.

11. The Sunderland Strategic Transport Corridor Phase 2 consists of a new bridge over the River Wear. The scheme is a local transport major scheme being promoted by Sunderland City Council, in partnership with Sunderland Arc, regeneration company.

12. Today's announcement grants the scheme 'Programme Entry' status in line with the Department for Transport's local major scheme guidance approval process. This means the Department expects to fund the scheme, subject to costs remaining the same and the relevant planning permissions being obtained.

13. The Department's contribution would be £97.989 million, with a total scheme cost of £103.989 million.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
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