Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel hit by further delays with work set to continue into 2020

Work to complete renovations to the Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel are set to continue into 2020 – despite it finally reopening to the public months ago.

Monday, 30th December 2019, 4:45 pm
The Tyne Pedestrian and Cycle Tunnel

Years of delays to the project looked set to finally come to an end in August when the historic crossing beneath the river began welcoming visitors and travellers once more.

At the time, bosses said they were waiting for new lifts to be installed in September to finish the final stage of the scheme, estimated to have cost more than £16 million.

But after this deadline was pushed by to December, they have now admitted it will be January at the earliest before a line can be drawn under the saga.

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A spokesperson from the North East Joint Transport Committee, which is responsible for the tunnel, said: “Due to ongoing issues with the commissioning of the inclined lifts, they are not yet in operation.

“We are working hard to resolve this issue with the specialist contractor and will hope to confirm a new date early in the new year. We apologise for any inconvenience.”

The pedestrian tunnel between Jarrow and Howdon, which first opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain and took four years to build, officially reopened on August 7 after years of delays and spiralling costs.

The budget for refurbishment, which started in 2013, was originally set at £6.9 million but has now risen to £16.2 million – and could rise higher, due to delays caused by problems including contractors going bust and the discovery of asbestos.

By the summer, bosses on the project had decided ‘rather than keep the public waiting’ they would push ahead, despite work on the new ‘inclined lifts’ still awaiting completion.

New figures show that in September there were 10,446 pedestrians and 5,728 cyclists using the Tunnels, while October saw 10,109 pedestrians and 4,667 cyclists.