The commercial connections in the area between Liverpool and Birkenhead required that the transportation of both vehicles and people required to be accommodated. A bridge over or a tunnel under the Mersey was thought of at the beginning of the 19th century. It was eventually resulting to the building of a tunnel that would connect to on the Mersey Railway, officially opened in 1886.
However, the subsequent increase of motorised crossing river traffic and the subsequent queues for ferry transport was causing serious congestion, and was hindering development that led to the discussion of a second road through the Mersey.
Tunnels were chosen as the best alternative by a fact-finding committee led by Sir Archibald Salvidge, then leader of Liverpool City Council, with the bridge being rejected on reason of the more expensive estimate of cost and the inability to construct the necessary piers to support it, which would hinder shipping, disrupt the flow of water and lead to silting. In 1925, the Mersey Tunnel Joint Committee was established as the official management authority with Salvidge as chairman. He was the driver in the development of the tunnel project and played a key role in the process of establishing it.
There were a variety of disputes that left Liverpool along with Birkenhead to be the only principals in the development Some of the other partners resigned including Wallasey and later the location to build the 3rd Mersey tunnel Kingsway which was first opening in 1971. Through the entire project, funding was an issue, as was the need to reconcile government grants and recouping costs through the granting of loans, rate increases and tolls.
14 Facts About Mersey Tunnel
Mersey Tunnels refers to the operation that is operated, maintained and managed by the Authority consisting of a tunnel to facilitate motor vehicles beneath the River Mersey between Liverpool and Birkenhead (known as the Queensway Tunnel) and two tunnels for traffic on that river , which runs between Liverpool as well as Wallasey (known by the Kingsway Tunnel), which were initially authorized through the Mersey Tunnel Acts 1925 from 1972 and are currently controlled by the provisions of Part XIII of the County of Merseyside Acts 1980 (c. the x) and amended through the Mersey Tunnels Act 2004
1. This was called the Queensway Tunnel and goes between Liverpool and Birkenhead. Locally it is known by the name of Birkenhead Tunnel or the old tunnel to distinguish it from the more modern Kingsway Tunnel which serves Wallasey as well as it is also the M53 motorway.
2. The construction of the Queensway Tunnel started in 1925 according to a plan drawn by consultant engineer Sir Basil Mott, and was constructed in 1925 by Edmund Nuttall Ltd.
3. It was officially opened on the 18th of July 1934 in the presence of The King George V in a ceremony attended by 200,000 people, not surprising considering it was at the time referred to as the “eighth wonder of the globe’.
4. When it was completed in the year it was opened, when it first opened, the Queensway tunnel was considered to be the longest tunnel on the road in the globe. the title it held for 14 years until it was surpassed by Vielha Tunnel in Catalonia, Spain.
5. Queensway tunnel was priced at PS8m to construct.
6. The increased volume of postwar traffic meant that the Queensway tunnel was unable to handle the load with the increased traffic, and so it was decided that a new tunnel was to be built. Construction started on Kingsway Tunnel between Liverpool and Wallasey in 1966 , by Edmund Nuttall Ltd., who also built the Liver Building. This took five years for the tunnel to be completed and officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on the 24th of June in 1971. (the route to the Wirral side was a continuation of the former Seacombe railway line).
7. Queensway Tunnel Queensway Tunnel is 2.01 miles long, and is one carriageway with four lanes, with two one in each direction. This Kingsway Tunnel has identical twin tubes, each having two lanes. The tunnel is 3.7 miles long on each side.
8. There’s an abandoned Mersey Tunnel. The Rendel Street branch in the Birkenhead tunnel was closed in 1965 but is still in use to serve as an emergency location as well as a film location.
9. The material that was excavated out of the Birkenhead tunnel was used for the construction of Otterspool Prom.
10. The excavation to build the Birkenhead tunnel began within a remnant from the Old George’s Dock at the Pier Head.
11. It was a dangerous job to excavat tons of gravel, rock as well as clay. Seventeen people died during the building the Queensway Tunnel, while eight men were killed while building the Kingsway Tunnel.
12. In 2004, construction began on seven refuges for emergencies under on the decks for the roads of Queensway Tunnel, each capable of holding up to 180 people as part of the PS9 million initiative to improve the tunnel and bring it in compliance with the most stringent European standards of safety. Each refuge is 69 feet (21 meters) long , and comes with doors that are fireproof, ramps to allow wheelchair access, a water tank with bottles of water, toilets, and an online link with the Mersey Tunnels police Control Room.
13. Camera, lights – action In September 2009, the scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 of the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, set in the Dartford Crossing, was filmed in the Queensway tunnel. Hagrid is seen riding his motorbike flying along alongside the world’s most well-known wizard in his sidecar. As they flee Voldemort along with the Death Eaters, they take an exit to the Mersey tunnel and narrowly miss the approaching traffic.
In 2012, it was used as an action scene in Fast & Furious 6 and in March of 2018 the tunnel was used to film the film Yesterday written by Danny Boyle.
14. The enormous mechanical boring machine that cut through the earth starting from Wallasey to Liverpool during the time The Kingsway Tunnel was built was called “The Mersey Mole ‘.>