Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels refurbishment delays
Following the contractor GB Building Solutions entering Administration, the identification of further asbestos materials in the historic Grade II-listed Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels between Howdon and Jarrow will lead to further delays to their refurbishment.
They are now unlikely to re-open before the summer of 2017.
The free-to-use, timetabled shuttle bus and a Night Service for shift workers continue to operate.
Alastair Swan, principal engineer for the tunnels’ owner, the North East Combined Authority (NECA) said: “The discovery of further asbestos was made during our inspection of the tunnels following the collapse of the original contractor, GB Building Solutions. We had been advised that they had completed the asbestos removal works.
“We are now going out to tender for the removal or encapsulation of the remaining asbestos. We expect the asbestos works to commence early in 2016. We are committed to the complete treatment of this hazardous material. We are looking to complete the asbestos work as quickly as possible to enable us to continue the refurbishment works.
“We continue to progress off-site works, including the manufacture of the new inclined elevators.
“We understand this setback will come as a blow to many tunnel users. We apologise for the inconvenience and ask for their continued patience and forbearance while we work to clean up the tunnels and restore this important pedestrian and cyclist link across the Tyne.”
The tunnels closed for refurbishment in May 2013.
Note to editors: The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels link Howdon and Jarrow under the Tyne. They opened in 1951 and were the first purpose built combined pedestrian and cyclist tunnels ever built. The wooden-tread escalators were once amongst the longest in the world, equivalent to the height of the Angel of the North. The refurbishment will include the replacement of two of the escalators with inclined lifts. The remaining escalators will be restored and kept in situ as exhibits but will not be operational.