Sunday, 6 May 2007

Road tips 2 - The Birkenhead (Queensway) Tunnel

Opened in 1934, the Birkenhead Tunnel was designed by Sir Basil Mott, although the structures that you can see on the surface, including the entrances to the tunnel, are the work of Herbert James Rowse. Like so many older buildings in Liverpool, their imposing style and fine detailing recall the city's prosperous past.

The main tunnel changes direction several times over its length of more than two miles, and four lanes of traffic, two in each direction, run in a large single bore; Mott's cavernous masterpiece certainly isn't the place to go if you want to hear the sound of your engine bouncing off the walls, as I discovered when I drove the Alfa Spider through it with the roof down the other day.

So what's the tip? Not that the Queensway Tunnel is a good way of getting between the two sides of the Mersey - that would be a bit too obvious! No, the tip is just to go and marvel at this wonder of early twentieth century civil engineering; there is nothing quite like it anywhere else in the UK.

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