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Yarmouth firm works on £280m Tyne Tunnel

PUBLISHED: 11:28 14 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:47 30 June 2010

AN underwater engineering company is enjoying buoyant times after helping to install a new £280m traffic tunnel across the River Tyne near Newcastle.

USL Subsea Civil and Marine Specialists, based in Martham and Lowestoft, has had 39 engineers working on the project - the largest current civil engineering scheme in the UK - to create a new tunnel to carry traffic from North Shields to South Shields.

AN underwater engineering company is enjoying buoyant times after helping to install a new £280m traffic tunnel across the River Tyne near Newcastle.

USL Subsea Civil and Marine Specialists, based in Martham and Lowestoft, has had 39 engineers working on the project - the largest current civil engineering scheme in the UK - to create a new tunnel to carry traffic from North Shields to South Shields.

The giant tunnel, crossing a 360m wide stretch of the Tyne, is the latest project to involve the firm, which has been trading as USL since 2000.

Before then, in its previous incarnation as Durrant Diving, the firm secured a number of prestigious contracts and was involved in the construction of the Thames barrier in 1974.

USL divers also helped to rescue a Trident Energy generator which capsized off the coast at Southwold in September. The generator was being towed out to sea to begin a year long trial with an offshore electricity scheme when the accident happened.

Contractors Volker Stevin Marine, responsible for the tunnel project, called USL because of its expertise with underwater engineering and the engineers were working in Tyneside between September 2009 and two months ago.

The tunnel comprises four separate elements, each measuring 90m long, 15m wide and 8.5m high and is the second vehicle tunnel crossing the Tyne.

USL director Chris Randle said seven or eight engineers worked for the firm and the rest were brought in on a sub-contract basis.

He said: “We are definitely growing the business and we are looking to expand into the renewable energy market, into the offshore field.”


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