WIND-POWERED? … the pedestrian tunnel could ‘go green’.
Now the outdated tunnels are set for a major overhaul, which could include going carbon-neutral and being powered by a wind turbine.
Plans for the ambitious transport scheme – the first of its kind in the region – were announced at a meeting of Jarrow community area forum this week.
The scheme includes, the removal of the existing wooden escalators and the installation of new inclined lifts, similar to those operating near the Millennium Bridge in London.
A unit capable of carrying up to 26 passengers, plus bicycles and full-size scooters, would be fully glazed, allowing people to view much of the structure and workings of the historic river tunnels.
Cliff Jessett, project manager of the New Tyne Crossing, said: “We’re interested in energy generation and this could include creating power for the tunnels with a wind turbine, like the one at the Eco Centre, in Hebburn.
“The aim is to keep energy levels low and we are confident we can create a carbon-neutral listed structure.”
The tunnels have been subject to numerous breakdowns, with parts being very difficult to source for the 60-year-old transport link, which was granted Grade 11 listed status in 2000.
“Basically, the tunnels are looking ‘tired’ and are coming to end of their natural life, and need to be replaced,” Mr Jessett added.
The £6m conservation scheme approved last year by Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority, will also include new lighting and CCTV systems, plus paving and tiling.
Work on the scheme could start either late this year or early 2012, dependent on planning permission and listed building consent.
Celebrations are also in the planning stages for the tunnels’ 60th anniversary in July.
Article excerpted from www.shieldsgazette.com