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Queensway Tunnel to celebrate 75th anniversary

The Queensway Tunnel linking Birkenhead and Liverpool under the River Mersey celebrates its 75th anniversary this month.

To celebrate 75 years’ successful operation of the Queensway Tunnel, Merseytravel will be hosting a special walk through the tunnel on Sunday 19 July that includes a full programme of entertainment suitable for the entire family. Members of the public will be able to learn more about the construction of this engineering miracle and enjoy a day of fun-filled activities followed by a free ferry ride back across the Mersey, courtesy of Merseytravel.

This remarkable achievement of civil infrastructure was opened by King George V in July 1934 and is the longest road tunnel in the UK at 3.6km long, carrying over ten million vehicles a year.

At the time it was constructed it was known as the eighth wonder of the world.

Owned and operated by Merseytravel today, the tunnel was designed by Sir Basil Mott of consulting engineers Mott, Hay and Anderson (later to become Mott MacDonald). Mott supervised the construction in association with John Brodie, City Engineer of Liverpool, and contractor Edmund Nuttall. To help celebrate the tunnel’s heritage, Mott McDonald will be sponsoring part of the day’s entertainment.

The Queensway Tunnel was made possible by Royal Assent after concerns were raised about the levels of congestion caused by cars and lorries waiting to use the Mersey Ferry. Construction began in 1925, with the two twin tunnels meeting to within less than an inch (25 mm) in 1928, and the road tunnel finally being opened to the public in 1934.

All proceeds from Under and Over the Mersey will be donated to Merseytravel’s 2009 corporate charity, the children’s hospice Claire House.

For information on how to register for the event please visit

Some facts about the Queensway tunnel

Roadway length – 2.23 miles

Internal diameter of tunnel – 44 feet

Weight of rock, clay and gravel excavated – 1,200,000 tonnes

Total length of electric cable used – 583.5 miles

Total number of men employed on construction – 1,700

Average cover of rock over top of tunnel under river – 20 feet

The tunnel is split in to two sections with the upper level being used to carry the road traffic.

The lower section known as Central Avenue is directly under the two central lanes of traffic and was originally intended to house a tramway, but this idea was never implemented as other forms of transport became a popular alternative.


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