A RISK to the sewerage system will spark the closure of part of a showcase riverside park in South Tyneside for several months.
Jarrow Linear Park was developed after the creation of the £260m second Tyne Tunnel scheme.
The park was set out and landscaped at the end of the tunnel construction works, which involved the excavation of a deep trench running north to south through central Jarrow, which saw earth below sewers and other utilities being removed.
But it was later discovered that the main Northumbrian Water interceptor sewer had settled by a “significant amount,” creating a risk to the sewerage system.
This means a section of the Jarrow park, including a children’s play area off Ferry Street and Commercial Road, will have to be closed for about 18 weeks.
A report on the works will be presented to a meeting of Jarrow and Boldon Community Area Forum, at Jarrow Town Hall, at 10am on Thursday.
A council spokesman said: “The existing interceptor sewer runs beneath Ormonde Street and below the new children’s play area on the parkland.
“Any repair work had a potential to impact adversely upon that facility.
“However, after substantial investigation and design work, and following discussions with council officers, Northumbrian Water have confirmed that work will commence in February to divert the sewer to the north of the play area, closer to the existing tunnel ventilation building and across to a connection in Commercial Road.
“While this proposal will avoid the need to excavate the play area, it will involve cutting across a section of the parkland and associated footpaths/cycleway.
“For safety reasons, it will also necessitate the closure of the play area for the duration of the works.”
Rachel Turnbull, chief executive officer of tunnel operators TT2 Limited, said: “We are working in partnership with Northumbrian Water and South Tyneside Council to ensure that the disruption to local residents is kept to a minimum for these essential works, and that all activities are fully communicated.”
The potential impact of the works will be assessed on an ongoing basis by council officers.
A council spokesman added: “These are essential works arising from the major engineering activities involved in building the new tunnel, and we have been working closely with TT2 and Northumbrian Water who are leading on the project.
“We are pleased that the works can be carried out without directly affecting the play area, though it will have to close for a time for safety reasons. All the partners are keen to minimise any disruption and we will continue to monitor the situation.
“The council will reopen the play area as soon as it is safe to do so, and reinstate the wildflower meadow as quickly as possible once the engineering works are completed.”