Approval granted for essential Woodhouse Tunnel works
Essential strengthening work on Woodhouse Tunnel in Leeds is set to begin next month after funding approval was confirmed today.
The work can now go ahead after the Department for Transport formally approved funding of £16.34million for the project, which is part of a wider £24.96m maintenance scheme of improvements to the Leeds Inner Ring Road (A58M).
The Department for Transport funding is supported by £8.616m provided by Leeds City Council, the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan Fund, The University of Leeds and Leeds NHS Trust.
The work is needed to address deterioration of the tunnel caused by more than 40 years of wear and tear which if unresolved would result in the Inner Ring Road needing to be closed within five years for safety reasons. Some critical repairs were carried out on the tunnel roof in the summer of 2011, but the remaining essential maintenance works are now required.
The project is expected to last approximately two years, with the majority of the works being carried out at night from 7pm-6am Sunday to Thursday during which times the tunnel will be fully closed.
Work on the tunnel roof will also be taking place which will mean some weekend closures or contra-flows in place for affected and associated roads from 7pm on Friday to 6am on Monday. A traffic management strategy will be in place to minimise disruption to motorists and the weekend closures will be notified in advance. Further information and updates will also be published on the scheme webpage at www.leeds.gov.uk/woodhousetunnel.
Work will be suspended completely when the Tour de France comes to the city in July 2014, and the council is also working with the first direct arena to minimise any impact on events held at the venue.
Woodhouse Tunnel is the largest structure included in the essential maintenance scheme, which has already seen strengthening work carried out successfully on Lovell Park Bridge and New York Flyover.
Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy Councillor Richard Lewis said:
"The Leeds Inner Ring Road is the most important road in the city in terms of keeping Leeds moving, so it is absolutely essential that any risk to its future is addressed.
"With more than 80,000 vehicles travelling through Woodhouse Tunnel every day, it is inevitable that it has suffered wear and tear in the 40 years since it was built and this scheme will mean it can continue to be used in a safe condition.
“We do appreciate there will be some disruption to traffic while the work is carried out but we will be doing everything we can to keep this to a minimum and we would ask drivers and commuters to be understanding that this project is necessary for the long-term benefit of the city.”
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