Bishop of Jarrow to bless Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels after reopening of historic crossing
The Bishop of Jarrow is set to bless the historic Tyne and Pedestrian Cyclists Tunnels after they reopened to the public earlier this year.
The Rt Revd Sarah Clark, The Bishop of Jarrow, will perform a ceremony to bless the tunnels on Thursday, October 17.
The tunnels reopened to the public in August after being closed for more than six years for refurbishment.
The historic crossing under the River Tyne, which connects Jarrow with Howdon, was first opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain.
It was closed in May 2013 for ‘minor’ refurbishments, but a number of setbacks, including the discovery of asbestos, saw it escalate to a six year, £16.2 million project.
Coun Gladys Hobson, vice chair of the Joint Transport Committee of the North of Tyne and North East Combined Authorities, and Deputy Mayor of South Tyneside, will welcome Bishop Sarah on Thursday.
Coun Hobson said: “The refurbishment of the Grade II-listed tunnels was a tremendously complex and challenging project.
“Our project team had to deal with serious and unforeseen contractual, environmental and structural issues which meant the tunnels were closed much longer than anticipated.
“This put tremendous pressure on everyone involved. Happily, the tunnels are now open to the public again and the final piece of the jigsaw, the funicular inclined lifts, are nearing completion.
“The blessing by Bishop Sarah is a way of acknowledging and celebrating the hard work and resilience of all those who have worked on the refurbishment and restoration of the tunnels, and the support the Joint Transport Committee has continually shown for retaining the tunnels for the benefit of the people of Tyne and Wear and beyond.
“I look forward to welcoming her and showing her the brilliant work that has taken place to restore the tunnels to their original glory.”
Rt Revd Clark commented: “I am delighted to have been asked to give this blessing. The Tunnels are both a historic and symbolic link across the Tyne at Jarrow and it is fantastic to be involved in celebrating its renewal.”