Work is ploughing forward on a major multi-million pound refurbishment programme that is shutting Birmingham’s city centre tunnels for six weeks.
Latest photos and video from inside the A38 tunnels show workmen on a raised platform applying special fire protection as part of the ongoing project.
The tunnels will then be painted before they reopen to traffic.
Around 200 staff are working around the clock to ensure the A38 St Chad’s and Queensway tunnels through the city centre reopen on September 2.
The 40-year-old tunnels are undergoing structural modifications and the installation of new lighting and fire protection.
The tunnels are currently closed for 24 hours a day in order for essential refurbishment and improvement works to take place on the 40-year-old structures. They will reopen at 6am on Monday, September 2.
The Express & Star was given a look inside the tunnels as bosses said work was being completed on track – with some extra work even taking place ahead of schedule.
While structural improvements continue on the tunnels, new lighting is being installed, while walls of the tunnels are also being sprayed with fire protection. They will later be painted to improve the appearance of the tunnels.
Up to 200 workers at any one time have been carrying out the works around the clock.
Meanwhile, some work will also be taking place to resurface the tunnels ahead of schedule.
Once the 24-hour closures finish on September 2, there will be a further two weeks of overnight closures from 10pm to 6am from September 3 to 16 while works are completed.
Project manager Gerry Harris said: “We are on programme to be finished on September 2. We have got the fire protection works going on, spraying on fire protection that will be completed by Sunday night and then we start painting some of the walls on Monday. We have also got the ongoing structural works, have created new doorways in the central walls and new lighting is being installed.
“Part of the contract that we had never really envisaged doing was r esurfacing of the carriageway, but we are going to be doing as much resurfacing next weekend and then the rest on two weeks of night closures. It has gone really well. The fact we have managed to fit extra works in as well is fantastic.”
The six-week closure was scheduled to take place during the school summer holidays as traffic flows are typically 15 to 20 per cent lighter. Around 18 million vehicles travel through the tunnels each year.
While the works have been taking place, highways maintenance service Amey, working in partnership with Birmingham City Council, has been continually monitoring the road network to assess the impact any changes in traffic flow have on journey times and ensuring priority continues to be provided for public transport.
Based within the city’s urban traffic control centre, staff have been working seven days a week using the network of CCTV cameras and the recently upgraded traffic management system to monitor and amend traffic signals in real time, set messaging signs where needed and update travel information organisations and local media outlets.
In addition, extra inspectors have also been out and about to identify issues as they arise and taking immediate action to minimise disruption And Mr Harris said he was pleased with motorists for using alternative transport to ease the pressures on the road network.
“We would like to thank people for their patience and support and changing their modes of transport, it has helped a lot,” he added.
“We have been having daily meetings at the control centre to make sure that anything that needed to be tweaked has been and making subtle changes like the timing of some lights and extra signage.
“There has been traffic management to make sure it carries on running smoothly.”
The improvements form part of a £330 million investment in the Birmingham road network.
People can keep up to date with the latest work with a website run by Amey and Birmingham City Council – www.brumtunnels.co.uk
The site is being updated regularly with a blog from the construction team.