Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel lifts still waiting to be finished  – THREE YEARS after the historic crossing reopened following multi-million refurbishment

The final stage of the Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels’ severely delayed and costly renovation remains incomplete – three years after the crossing reopened.

Refurbishment work on the tunnels was meant to be finished in 2015, but the project was hit with a number of setbacks that pushed it more than £10 million over budget.

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The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel improvements have been dogged by problems, with spiraling costs.
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And as the third anniversary of the tunnels’ reopening approaches, the long-running scheme appears no closer to reaching completion.

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Regional transport chiefs were told last week that contractors are still waiting for the delivery of crucial parts for the two inclined lifts – as had been the case four months ago.

Fiona Bootle, Tyne Tunnels Manager for Transport North East, said: “Work has been done on them with the UK contractors. We are waiting on the delivery of doors and a mechanism.

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Cyclist Carlton Turnbull at the opening of Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel, Wallsend.

"There is a problem with the supply chain, as there is in a lot of areas today, with the steel and glass for those doors.”

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Members of the overview and scrutiny committee for the North East Joint Transport Committee were told that completion was expected “later in 2022”, although the project has now through several expected completion dates, all of which have been missed.

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Transport North East confirmed this March that the works had cost £292,000 in the 2021/22 financial year and will lead to bills of another estimated £281,000 in 2022/23, significantly more than the £350,000 previously quoted as the expected remaining cost of the lift works.

It has been suggested that a legal claim could be made against Italian engineers Maspero Elevatori in an attempt to recover some funds.

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Once the doors and other remaining parts are delivered an installed, the lifts will have to go through a certification and testing process.

The two inclined lifts, which travel on a steep incline down the historic escalator shaft to the lowest part of the tunnels, will be able to carry up to six cyclists and their bikes per trip.

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Previous delays to the renovation of the tunnels were blamed on their listed building status, the discovery of asbestos, and original contractor GB Building Solutions going bust, which saw work grind to a halt for 18 months.