Opening plans revealed for Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnel after improvement project
Opening plans for the historic Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels have been revealed to transport bosses.
The project has been dogged by problems since the decision to renovate the grade-II listed structure was made a decade ago.
After closing in May 2013 for restoration work, the project was predicted to be finished by 2015.
But delays due to several contractors entering administration and the discovery of asbestos have seen the opening date pushed back several times.
Newcastle City Council, who are managing the project on behalf of the North East Combined Authority (NECA), have said tunnels are set to open this month.
However, this will include a trial “phased reopening” to allow transport bosses to troubleshoot any potential problems.
The plans were revealed to the North East Transport Committee, Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee, on Thursday (July 4).
In action, the tunnels would be manned between 6am-8pm with a night shuttle running between 8pm and 6am.
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A report prepared for the committee states the tunnels will be “monitored under real working conditions with any changes needed to the functionality of the systems to be carried out in a managed way.”
It adds delays in recent months were linked to “commissioning and certification processes” but all works in the tunnel are now complete.
The tunnels, which connect Jarrow and Howdon, cost £833,000 to build and opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain.
At its peak, the structure saw an average of 20,000 people travel through every day – mainly workers travelling to shipyards on either side of the Tyne.
Ahead of the reopening, site visits have been arranged with “interested groups” to support and publicise the completion of the works.
This includes Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, who have been working with two primary schools on interactive work to promote the reopening.
While the project was originally budgeted at around £6.9million, the final bill is expected to be more than double due to delays.
The final project cost will be revealed at the next meeting of the sub-committee in September.