Friday, 11 March 2011

Urgent repair work to Woodhouse Tunnel to take place in summer

Major work will begin this summer to repair a busy section of the Leeds inner ring-road in the city centre.

Leeds City Council will carry out the work to both entrance sections of Woodhouse Tunnel, the section of the ring-road which runs underneath Leeds University and Leeds General Infirmary.

The work will involve replacing 400 square metres of defective concrete on the tunnel roof which has been damaged by salt used in road grit. Over the years, the salt has penetrated the concrete and caused corrosion. During the repair work, two lanes of the tunnel will need to be closed during a programme of 14 weekend closures beginning in June and completing in autumn this year.

The closures have been scheduled to avoid major city centre weekend events where possible. Traffic capacity will be reduced by half as the road will be narrowed from two lanes to one lane in each direction. An alternative signed route will be in place to help alleviate traffic.

The council is consulting widely with a range of organisations to ensure disruption is minimised as much as possible.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive member responsible for highways maintenance, said:
“This is essential maintenance work which cannot be delayed. We understand that it will cause traffic disruption and have done everything possible to minimise this and give people advance notice so they can prepare.

“This is the first time we have done this scale of work on this part of the road network since the early 1990s and we want to ensure that all who rely on this section of road are aware in good time of the scheduled closures and able to plan ahead.”

The work to Woodhouse Tunnel is just one part of a wide-scale repair plan for the whole of the Leeds inner ring-road for which the council is currently bidding for Government funding.

Built throughout the 60s and 70s as the city’s principal inner urban motorway, the ring-road carries on average 75,000 vehicles every day and its infrastructure now needs significant repair work.

At the time the ring-road was built, it was one of the largest construction projects ever undertaken in the city and it pioneered cutting edge engineering techniques. It sank a road right through the middle of one of the busiest cities in the UK. The aim was to divert traffic away from the city centre and to build motorway links to surrounding areas and cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Bradford and Hull.

Councillor Lewis added:
“Lots of people depend on using the Leeds inner ring road without ever really thinking about the role is has in their lives. It is a massive asset to the city and the wider city region and the pulse of the city’s economy.

“It has served this city well for nearly 50 years and our priority is that it has the necessary repairs and maintenance work done to ensure it continues to serve our city for another 50 years.”

Notes to editors:
The weekend closures of two lanes of Woodhouse Tunnel will begin on each Friday of the following weekends. The tunnel will be fully opened again each Monday. These will take place throughout summer and early autumn 2011. These are the weekends of:

24 June, 8 July, 15 July, 22 July, 29 July, 5 August, 12 August, 19 August, 2 September, 9 September, 23 September, 30 September, 7 October, 14 October. For each weekend closure the road will be closed from 8pm Friday to 5am Monday.

Ends

For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk