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Queensbury Tunnel campaigners ‘close’ to cycle route deal

DfT reportedly willing to commit £3m if Bradford City Council can be persuaded

Sky News reports that campaigners have persuaded the Department for Transport (DfT) to hand over the £3m cost of concreting shut the 1.5-mile Queensbury Tunnel if Bradford City Council can be persuaded to take it off their hands. The campaigners would like to see the tunnel reopen as a cycle route.

Earlier in the week, we reported how the Queensbury Tunnel Society believes the West Yorkshire tunnel could be converted into a bike route for £2.8m – slightly less than the £3m the DfT planned to spend on filling in parts of it with concrete so as to make it impassable.

A member of the campaign group, Graeme Bickerdike, said: "Is it sensible to take £3m of taxpayers money, convert it into concrete, and pour it into a black hole? Or do you use that money and invest it into transforming this structure into an asset that can be used to generate money?"

Sustrans has calculated that using the tunnel for recreation would boost the local economy by almost £40m over the next 30 years.

A spokesman for Bradford Council commented: "We appreciate the passion and commitment of the groups who want to see the tunnel re-opened as a cycleway and we hope to be in a better position to understand what would be involved financially in re-opening the tunnel later this year."

A 2016 report conducted for Highways England’s Historical Railways Estate (HRE) initially put the cost of converting the tunnel into a cycle route at £35m.

Bickerdike, who co-ordinated a separate engineering study on behalf of the Queensbury Tunnel Society, and who is a writer, editor and producer specialising in railway structures, commented in 2016: “To the untrained eye, the collapses and the areas around them do look quite dramatic but, to people with a mining background, there are established ways of dealing with them that don’t involve huge costs.

“I spoke to a number of tunnelling and mining engineers about HRE’s £35 million figure – which was the product of a desk study – and they all regarded it as being off the scale. There has to be a proportionate and pragmatic approach to developing a repair solution here.”

 A petition to suspend abandonment work has now attracted almost 6,000 signatures.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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Valbrona | 6 years ago
1 like

Reminds me of the tunnel I often use in Val Brembana.

peted76 | 6 years ago

A nearly good news story, huzzah - hold the bucks fizz for now though.

Doctor Fegg | 6 years ago
1 like

The Two Tunnels in Bath are doing fine without graffiti and glass. I know Bradford's not exactly, well, Bradford-on-Avon, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the Queensbury Tunnel would be trashed.

More significant, I think, is that the Queensbury Tunnel doesn't currently go anywhere. The Two Tunnels work because there are good cycle routes either end. To the £3m for the tunnel you'd need to add £0.5m to build some decent connections either side.

Valbrona | 6 years ago
1 like

That 'visualization' picture is BS.

How long before that tunnel gets covered in graffiti and broken glass, and filled with the odour of piss?

Blocking it off with concrete is also bad on account of the huge carbon footprint of the substance.

BehindTheBikesheds | 6 years ago

Great news, just hoping that someone can see sense over this and no-one involved in the Leeds Bradford 'highway' has any part of it.

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