The Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels are set to undergo a £4.9m makeover to modernise and renovate their facilities.
GB Building Solutions were awarded the contract to refurbish the Grade 2 listed tunnels which date back to 1951.
The refurbishment project will revamp the 274.5m tunnels which run in parallel 12.2m below the river bed of the Tyne.
Martin Smout, chairman and chief executive of GB Group said, “The tunnels are a key transport link in Tyneside and of historic significance.
“The work that GB will do to restore and refurbish them will ensure that the tunnels remain an active part of the Tyneside transport links for many years to come.”
The refurbishment project includes the removal of two wooden escalators, one each side of the river which, at the time of construction, were the longest single-rise escalators in the world, with a vertical rise of 85ft and a length of approximately 200ft.
The programme of works will also include the installation of two inclined lifts, GB will also fully replace the mechanical and electrical services and carry out the refurbishment and renovation of certain parts the buildings and tunnels.
Paul Fenwick, Tyne and Wear Integrated Transport Authority (TWITA) says, “The tunnels are an important transport link between North and South Tyneside, with usage particularly by cyclists increasing in recent times.
“All four original escalators are now out of service and beyond economic repair, so this refurbishment will give the tunnels a new lease of life and will greatly improve the experience for users.”