Tees Tunnel feasibility study shows potential of infrastructure investment

Aerial photograph of the Silver Jubilee Bridge and Mersey Gateway Bridge in Halton

There’s really nothing like a big infrastructure project to get people passionate about investment and politics.

Tees Valley Combined Authority – led by Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen – is funding a new £1million feasibility study into a possible tunnel under the River Tees connecting Redcar and Hartlepool.

Just 24 hours on from the Mayor’s announcement, and as ever with anything in the Tees Valley, there are political points being made on all sides – and 2024 is an election year – but there is no doubt the proposal has captured attention. 

Most people who have experienced the glory of the A19 flyover in rush hour would agree that the Tees Valley needs an additional river crossing. Whether a tunnel or a bridge – and both have been talked about in recent years – and where it is best located – comes down to feasibility and affordability. 

Whatever is decided – effective communications and community engagement is vital to successfully deliver a project on this scale once feasibility studies have been undertaken.

If a new Tees crossing ever happens – and there is no doubt that there would be massively improved connectivity for the Tees Valley and the whole North East if it did – then this is just a taster of the level of attention and scrutiny the plans and the works will get from the media, stakeholders and local communities.

Effective communications and community engagement on big infrastructure projects is as important as design planning when it comes to successful delivery. We’ve all seen and heard plenty of examples of what happens when that goes wrong, but get it right and the potential for new infrastructure to galvanise communities and attract investment and regeneration is huge.

In the last ten years, we’ve been appointed to lead communications and community engagement for the planning, construction and opening of the two largest new river crossings in England – Mersey Gateway and Northern Spire.

These were two awesome projects with huge communications and engagement challenges, and both were great clients who recognised the value in investing in committed and honest communications and who were prepared to listen to their communities.

More broadly, DTW has helped our clients secure planning permission and deliver almost £3billlion of major infrastructure, regeneration, and energy projects during the past ten years, helping create an estimated 11,000 jobs in the process, and engaging and transforming communities across the UK through strategic communications and community engagement activity.

It’s what we do, and the team is passionate about delivering success. We’ll be monitoring any future Tees crossing proposals – whether it is for a tunnel or a new bridge – with great interest.

Want to find out more?

You can read more about our seven simple principles for effective community engagement, and if you’re looking for comms professionals who know the infrastructure and regeneration sector, then drop us a line by emailing letstalk@dtw.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.