Pedestrian tunnel revamp headache continues as building firm collapses

The escalators in the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel.
The escalators in the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel.

THE multi-million pound revamp of the Tyne pedestrian tunnel is facing more delays after builders ran into financial difficulty.

A £7.1million transformation of the cycle and pedestrian tunnel has been put back again when the contractors went into administration.

Now, the North East Combined Authority, which is behind the revamp, said it is looking into how long the delay will take.

Connecting Howdon and Jarrow, the tunnel closed in May 2013, expecting to be shut for around a year.

However, it was hit with delays when high levels of asbestos were found in the lining of escalator shafts and the lower halls.

Now, GB Building Solutions has gone into administration with the loss of 350 jobs, leaving the refurbishment at another temporary standstill.

A spokesman for the North East Combined Authority said: “We are very sorry to hear that this company has gone into administration. It has been working on the refurbishment of the Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel since May 2013.

“We are currently assessing what contractual arrangements we have in place to ensure that the work is completed.”

It is hoped the tunnel will be finished by the end of this year or early next year.

The Grade II-listed structure, which opened in 1951, is used for about 20,000 journeys each month.

The work on the tunnel includes replacing original wooden escalators and upgrading the tunnels’ aging mechanical and electrical systems.

A free shuttle bus service for night shift workers is operating while the tunnels are closed.