Mersey Tunnel Opens

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History on 24th June


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Mersey Tunnel Opens

Liverpool, Merseyside The 24th of June 1971 AD

The first tunnel under the River Mersey was built to carry rail traffic, way back in 1886, so the concept of driving tunnels beneath the river was established in the reign of Queen Victoria .
A second tunnel, the Queensway Tunnel, was planned in the 1920s and completed in 1934, but of course the enormous growth in road traffic had not been predicted before WWII . Thus by the 1960s another way under the Mersey was perceived to be needed, so the Kingsway tunnel was projected.
In common with just about every major construction project in modern British history estimates of cost were not exactly accurate: initially one tunnel bore was planned, the work to complete it estimated to cost in the region of £14 million. When a second bore was deemed necessary it was expected to add less than £8 million. But in the world of construction 14 + 8 = 33. The final cost was over £33 million.
The first road tunnel linked Liverpool with Birkenhead , the second runs further to the north of the Wirral peninsula , linking the city with Wallasey . Construction lasted for some five years, innovative mechanical moles speeding the digging to 70m or more a week. Queen Elizabeth opened the one and a half mile tunnel on June 24 1971, each of the two bores carrying two lanes of traffic, though in fact traffic only started at midnight on June 27.

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Comment

From Ronnie on 21st February 2013
Spot on!. I remember it well.

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