The Queensway (Birkenhead) tunnel is set to benefit from a comprehensive lighting upgrade to save on energy costs and reduce its carbon footprint.
The move comes as Mayor Steve Rotheram progresses with his plans to decarbonise the Liverpool City Region’s public transport network.
In just over a weeks’ time, an £11million investment by Mayor Rotheram and the Combined Authority in the form of a major electrical upgrade will begin at the tunnel, contributing to the region’s target to be net zero by 2040 – at least a decade before national government.
Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, said, “The Mersey Tunnels are an essential part of our region’s transport system however, at a time when energy prices continue to rise, they are becoming more and more expensive to maintain – especially since we receive no central government support. Instead, it is left to the Combined Authority to source the funds to keep our tunnels running safely and efficiently.
“This £11m upgrade is part of my commitment to revolutionise our public transport system to make it faster, cheaper, cleaner and more reliable. Alongside our new fleet of publicly owned hydrogen buses and £500m trains, and the £50m we’ve invested in active travel infrastructure, we’re building a greener, more energy-efficient network that works in the interests of passengers and our planet.
“While we apologise that there will be some overnight disruption, this investment is an opportunity that we simply can’t afford not to take – especially if we’re serious about hitting our target to be net zero by 2040.”
The existing lighting throughout the 2-mile tunnel will be replaced by an energy-efficient LED system, with a lifespan of 25 years.
This will result in 60% reduction in carbon footprint of 220 tonnes of carbon each year, as well as savings on electricity costs when the works are complete in around 18 months’ time.
While the new system will reduce the amount of energy used, it won’t compromise light quality.
Plans have been put in place to help ensure that cross-river travel remains an option while minimising disruption during the upgrade.
From Monday 5 June the Queensway tunnel will remain open during the day and will only be closed each night, when traffic volumes are lower, between 21:00 and 06:30 so the works can take place. This full overnight closure, 7 days a week, is expected to be in place for around 18 months.
Cross river bus services will be diverted and so passengers are advised to check directly with their operator for any changes to their journey and to plan ahead.
This improvement project, supported by the Liverpool City Region’s Levelling Up funding, will bring the Queensway Tunnel in line with its counterpart in Wallasey, the Kingsway Tunnel, which became more energy-efficient thanks to completion of a similar upgrade in June 2018. The Kingsway Tunnel will remain open during this time.
To maximise the opportunity, other investment and preventative maintenance works will take place at the same time including checking safety systems and refuges.
This is part of an ongoing investment and modernisation programme to futureproof the tunnels as a key part of the city region transport network and a vital cross-river travel option.