March 2022 – ‘Urban explorers’ open Queensbury can of worms

The New Civil Engineer reported that ‘National Highways’ long-running battle with disgruntled campaigners in West Yorkshire has boiled over, with the police called in to investigate an alleged case of trespass.’ Photos taken by three ‘urban explorers’ of the ‘work’ carried out in the tunnel by NH engineers, were released by campaigners who are fighting to get the structure reopened as a cycle path and walking route. NH have informed the police, who are now investigating.

Whether NH’s concern is really the trespass, or the unwanted exposure of their costly and damaging infilling, is another matter. The photographs show the tunnel blocked in two places, the first where NH tipped hundreds of tons of stone down one of the tunnel’s shafts, the other where steel baskets have been used to support another shaft that was described in earlier engineering reports as being in ‘fair condition’.

The Queensbury Tunnel Society complain that millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money have been wasted on the project, not least paying a company more than £3,000 a day to provide “round-the clock security” at the site over Christmas 2020. The group’s leader, Norah McWilliam, said that the photos “capture a missed opportunity”. (New Civil Engineer)