Options to be considered with tunnels

Walkers use the pedestrian and cycle grade 2 listed Tyne Tunnel linking Howdon in North Tyneside and Jarrow in South Tyneside under the River Tyne.
Walkers use the pedestrian and cycle grade 2 listed Tyne Tunnel linking Howdon in North Tyneside and Jarrow in South Tyneside under the River Tyne.

MEASURES are to be put in place to help users still get across the river Tyne when two tunnels are closed for refurbishment work.

The Tyne pedestrian and cycle tunnels will be closed later this year for refurbishment, with a free timetabled shuttle bus being put in place from 6am to 8pm between the Howdon and Jarrow entrances.

Owners of the tunnels, the Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA) carried out a consultation exercise with shift workers to see how many people would be effected by the closure between 6am and 8pm.

And after getting 64 online responses, they will look at what measures could be put in place to help these workers.

TWITA’s project director Paul Fenwick said: “Although the tunnels are not public rights of way, the authority feels it has a commitment to help commuting cyclists and pedestrians who may otherwise find it difficult to cross the river during the forthcoming closure.

“It would not be cost effective to keep the shuttle buses operating 24/7 and we needed to gain an understanding of just how many people use the tunnels to get to work between 8pm and 6am in order to know the size of the problem and to help us plan the measures we might put in place to help those affected.

“The survey identified a small group of about 20 to 25 regular users who appear to have no other means of crossing the river during the closure, so we will be considering ways in which we can help these people get to and from their place of work.”

TWITA is investing £4m in the refurbishment of the Grade II-listed tunnels and the work is expected to start in late October and take up to 12 months to complete.

Owing to the scale and complexity of the works required in a confined space, TWITA decided that a complete closure was required mainly for public safety reasons, and also because it would allow the works to be completed more quickly and at a lower cost.

For more information visit www.tynepedestrianandcyclisttunnels.co.uk