Engineers assess fire damage to M4 tunnel Aug 2011
Peter Kenyon, TunnelTalk
- The Welsh Government says it is "too early" to put a full repair cost on damage caused to the M4 Brynglas motorway tunnel in last week's truck blaze.
A lorry fire caused extensive tunnel damage
- Although nobody was injured the tunnel itself suffered extensive damage after a lorry caught fire during the morning rush hour on 26 July.
- A Welsh Government spokesperson said on Thursday (August 4): "We are currently installing temporary lighting in the westbound tunnel at Brynglas and our officials are compiling a detailed list of works that need to be completed to fully restore the tunnel."
- "We will, whenever possible, seek to minimise the impact to motorists of future essential repairs but ask them to take these works into consideration when planning their journeys."
- Emergency work, including lighting repairs, carriageway resurfacing work and tunnel cleaning, were carried out during a three day closure of the 365m (1200ft) long westbound tunnel last week.
- It was found that the structural integrity had not been compromised and the tunnel, which first opened in 1967 after a five year construction period, was reopened to traffic last Friday (July 29).
Houses near the smoke-bound tunnel entrance
Photo Credit: David Price
- With lighting levels in the westbound tunnel still lower than normal, a 30 miles/hr speed restriction has been put in place. Since Monday (August 1) night-time closures have been put in place to allow temporary lighting to be fitted. These closures are scheduled to last a week, the spokesperson said.
- The tunnels at Brynglas were originally planned by the now-defunct Newport Corporation in August 1959 in a proposal submitted to the then UK Ministry of Transport. Work started on 10 September 1962 and was completed and open to traffic in May 1967.
- Works to widen the M4 around the nearby Welsh town of Newport to three lanes was completed in 1982, but with the exception of the tunnels which remained as dual two-lane sections.
- For eyewitness reports and video footage of the blaze as it happened click here.
Truck blaze damages UK traffic tunnel - TunnelTalk, July 2011
Tunnel fire fighting system for Eurotunnel - TunnelTalk, Feb 2011
PP fibres to resist fire-induced concrete spalling - TunnelTalk, Nov 2010
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