With Nissan investing, IAMP is set for further demand. Credit: via Mediaworks

IAMP gears up for gigafactory capacity

National Grid is starting work on a 275kV substation to power up the International Advanced Manufacturing Park’s next phases, while Durham contractor Esh has won a £6.7m road-widening contract.

IAMP is situated to the north of the Nissan motor manufacturing plant, and is a joint venture between Sunderland and South Tyneside councils. Spanning 370 acres, IAMP is expected to create more than 7,000 new jobs over the next 10 years.

Last year saw approval for 1.8m sq ft at IAMP Two given by both local authorities, allowing the expansion of a park that has thrived by providing space for the Nissan supply chain.

With the Japanese motor giant last year committing to electric vehicle production at the site with a £3bn programme comprising three gigafactories, and investment zone status given to the automotive sector in the region, IAMP’s infrastructure is falling into place.

National Grid

National Grid is starting work on a new 275kV substation on IAMP to enable new gigafactories and other businesses on the site to plug directly into the electricity transmission network.

The Hylton Castle substation will provide a new grid connection for Nissan, AESC UK and Sunderland City Council’s EV36Zero electric vehicle hub at IAMP, which brings together EV manufacture, battery production and a renewable energy microgrid.

The intention is for the project to be completed and energised in 2026, at which point Hylton Castle substation will – with its three new 100-tonne supergrid transformers and advanced control systems – reinforce the network in the region and create electricity capacity on site equivalent to powering around 500,000 homes for a day.

Preparatory work has started on Hylton Castle, the organisation said. Credit: National Grid

National Grid recently re-routed a kilometre long stretch of pylons and overhead power line to run around the IAMP’s future perimeter, freeing up land for work on the substation and gigafactories to progress on schedule.

A joint venture between Omexom and Taylor Woodrow has been appointed as contractor to carry out the substation works, with site surveys already underway and construction activity due to start this month.

Alice Delahunty, president of National Grid Electricity Transmission, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Sunderland City Council, Nissan and AESC UK to help bring the EV36Zero hub and other IAMP developments to life with a new high voltage substation and grid connection at Hylton Castle.

“Plugging the site directly into our transmission network – the electricity superhighway that spans England and Wales – will deliver it a firm supply of power 24/7, and enable its operations that will support jobs and prosperity in the area for years to come.”

A1290 dualling programme

Esh Construction, meanwhile, has been chosen to widen the existing A1290 at the International Advanced Manufacturing Park close to Sunderland.

It is adjacent to the A19 with links to the A1(M), and with a major Nissan electric vehicle investment and IAMP’s next phase both in train, is recognised as a nationally significant project.

The £6.7m contract was awarded through NEPO and will be delivered in partnership with IAMP.

The project will see carriageway upgrade works on the A1290 to dual the existing carriageway between the A1290/A19 junction and just beyond the southern entrance of International Drive within IAMP.

Esh’s divisional director, Steven Garrigan, said: “This latest award builds on our successful delivery of the infrastructure for the first phase of IAMP which completed in 2020.

“IAMP is a huge investment by two local authorities which will deliver a world-class destination for advanced manufacturing and create thousands of jobs for the region. We are proud to be creating greater transport access for businesses while helping to support the enhanced economic growth of the Sunderland and South Tyneside areas.”

The project will be split across three main construction areas which have been phased to minimise the use of lane closures and temporary traffic lights, with the majority of new 1,550m length of carriageway being constructed off-line before tying it into the existing road infrastructure.

Accompanying drainage system works, including the construction of supporting swales and attenuation ponds, as well as street lighting, traffic signals, pedestrian crossings and landscaping works will also be delivered.

Two-way traffic flows will be maintained throughout the construction works with some works required under traffic signal control. Traffic management will be monitored during busy shift changes to accommodate adjacent IAMP businesses.

The new dual carriageway is expected to be completed in summer 2025 and will connect the northern area of the IAMP site to a soon to be completed gigafactory and further developments across the site.

Cllr Michael Mordey, who took over as Leader of Sunderland City Council following the May elections, said: “IAMP is already home to key automotive and advanced manufacturing businesses and this upgrade to vital highways infrastructure will further increase the attractiveness of this key strategic site, which brings together land in both Sunderland and South Tyneside as part of the North East Investment Zone.”

Stuart Wright, director of place and communities at South Tyneside Council, added: “This investment in highways infrastructure is key to opening up the Northern Employment Area at IAMP, as we continue to develop this key site in partnership – creating new employment opportunities for residents from South Tyneside, Sunderland and across the region.”

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