The St Chad's and Queensway tunnels through Birmingham City Centre have reopened to daytime traffic on schedule this morning, Monday 1st September.
This major route through the city has been completely closed for six weeks to allow for the major installations of technological equipment, including 25 modern jet fans, Video Accident Incident Detection (VAID) system, CCTV and PA system - all requiring over 40 miles worth of cabling and thousands of electrical connections.
The works were part of an essential refurbishment project that is bringing the tunnels up to the required modern European standards, with the very latest technology that will make the maintenance and management of the route much more efficient.
Thousands of motorists took on board the advice of transport planners and turned to public transport during the closures to help keep the city's traffic moving.
Councillor Tahir Ali, Cabinet Member for Development, Transport and the Economy, has thanked the people of Birmingham for their patience while the closures were in place.
“I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who changed their mode of transport during the closures and helped the city cope. Once again the people of Birmingham have proved that, if we work together, we can ensure that challenging but necessary improvements can be carried out with minimal disruption.
“This is an exciting time for Birmingham with lots of major developments in the pipeline, including the extension of the Midland Metro and the planned redevelopment of Paradise Forum. It is great that the people of the city are playing such an active role while we build a better Birmingham.”
Despite the tunnels reopening to daytime traffic, the team behind the works will not yet be downing tools as the refurbishment now moves into a planned phase of testing and commissioning the new systems. Tests will include everything from acoustic measurements of safety announcements to full scale incident response scenario resilience tests.
Due to the unpredictable nature of this phase of the works, and to help the team schedule night closures to avoid major events in the city such as the Conservative Party Conference, the September night closures have been extended through October.
Eddie Fellows, Highways Network Manager for Amey, the company carrying out the works in partnership with Birmingham City Council, said:
“This is not the end of the project for us. We still have a lot of work to do to carry out final system tests and checks during overnight closures, as well as works inside the plant rooms while the tunnels are open to traffic.”
“We want to carry out these works with minimal disruption to the city so we have decided not to close on some nights while major events are taking place. We will be working hard during the night closures so that we can complete the testing and commission phase as early as possible. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.”
Special traffic management measures have been planned for the period of night closures, including later closure start times and localised diversion routes to assist high profile events in the city centre, NIA and ICC. For more information about the Birmingham tunnel closures, visit www.brumtunnels.co.uk
Notes to Editors
â€¢ The second phase of the tunnels works will complete the upgrade to the tunnels by renewing the ventilation system, installing new security and communications systems, replacing electrical systems and refurbishing pumping stations and plant rooms.
â€¢ In 2010, Amey won the Birmingham Highways Maintenance and Management Service contract to manage and maintain the city's roads over the next 25 years. The contract will see a huge investment into the city's road network and Amey is working in partnership with Birmingham City Council to deliver the contract. The works include refurbishment and improvement of the city's roads, footways, bridges, tunnels, street lighting and traffic control systems.
â€¢ Amey is a leading UK public and regulated services provider with over 21,000 employees.
â€¢ Amey operates over 320 contracts, providing an unrivalled range of services including utilities, highways, waste management, rail, justice solutions, social housing and facilities management. Services are underpinned by our leading consulting and asset management capabilities, which allow us to offer stand-alone or integrated service solutions to a range of clients.
For more information, contact Lara Thorns on 07843 368954, email email@example.com