Heading north, on yer bike son
The grand opening of the Hindhead tunnel, long awaited to ease congestion on the A3 between Petersfield and Guildford, is to be delayed.
Work has progressed ahead of schedule and until recently it was thought the tunnel might actually open as early as July 6, 2011, a full month ahead of the original target date.
The main fabric of the tunnel was actually finished months ago and it has been a series of health and safety checks and tweaks that have delayed its use.
The Health and Safety executive and the Highways Agency have insisted that a number of “enhancements” be made before the public are permitted to use the tunnel.
The enforced changes have meant that cables had to be fitted for lights, warning lights, emergency warning lights, signals, signal lights, emergency power systems, heating system, de-icing systems, communications systems, reserve communications systems, operating cameras, security cameras and a coffee machine at the half-way point.
Piping has also had to be fitted for air ducts, smoke ducts, reserve air ducts, sprinkler systems, back-up sprinkler systems and badgers (a compromise deal with Badgerwatch UK ).
The list ran to 754 additional requirements and the additional gadgetry has been housed in thick stainless steel tubes to protect it should there be a crash, fire, flood, earthquake or other disaster.
Dave Reckonin, in charge of the project, said: “We have satisfied all of the additional safety requirements, the additional equipment has been tested and is functioning correctly. Unfortunately the additional piping has reduced the width and headroom in both the northbound and southbound tunnels. The net result is that when the tunnel opens, sometime later this month, only cyclists and motorcyclists will be able to use it.
“Cars and lorries will be diverted through Bordon.”