Woodhouse Tunnel up to full strength as improvement project completed

Leeds, Leeds Star

A long-term project to strengthen Woodhouse Tunnel in Leeds has been successfully completed.

The three-year programme of repairs to the tunnel has been part of a broader project of essential maintenance on the Leeds Inner Ring Road (A58M) carried out by Leeds City Council and Carillion to ensure the road can continue to be a key part of the highway network in Leeds used by more than 80,000 vehicles a day.

The works to the tunnel, which supports structures including Leeds General Infirmary, strengthened the walls and central pier to resist vehicle impacts as well as repairing areas of the roof. To carry out the work, 2,630 cubic meters of concrete and 550 tonnes of steel reinforcement were used. With the A58(M) being such a key route through the city all the construction took place during 730 overnight closures, along with 12 weekend contraflows.

While the structural work on the tunnel was being carried out, the council and its street lighting partner Tay Valley Lighting (Leeds) Ltd (TVL) along with contractor SSE Contracting Limited (SSEC) also chose to look at updating the lighting in Woodhouse Tunnel, which this year reached 50 years since it was completed in June 1966.

The result has been a significant lighting upgrade being installed in the tunnel, using the latest LED lighting technology. This has seen the total number of lights increasing by seven per cent, but with the latest energy efficiency the energy used by the lights has been cut by 61 per cent, along with a decrease in carbon emissions.

The tunnel now features much more effective and uniform lighting, with the new technology used needing less maintenance and therefore reducing future potential disruption. As part of the lighting project the council was also keen to explore the possibility of using light feature to enhance the look of the tunnel and area.

This has led to new coloured LED lights being switched on at either end of the tunnel, being provided at no cost to the council by Tay Valley Lighting in recognition of its 10-year partnership with the council and SSEC and to showcase what modern lighting can do.

Leeds City Council executive member for regeneration, transport and planning Councillor Richard Lewis said:

“We are delighted that these improvement works to Woodhouse Tunnel have now been successfully completed. It was a very difficult technical challenge working on a tunnel which is more than 50 years old on a key road for the city which is used by 80,000 vehicles every day, but with our officers working alongside Carillion it has been a success.

“A lot of people have already commented on the new lighting in the tunnel, and for that I’d like to thank our partners TVL and SSEC for their efforts. I’d also especially like to thank the NHS Trust, University of Leeds and everyone in the city for their patience while this essential work was being carried out.”