Woolwich Tunnel Works Restart with Gusto

Woolwich Tunnel Works Inspection
On the 10th of January Mary Mills, John Phillips and Ian Blore of fogwoft joined Mike Neill as well as Tim Jackson and Steve Pallett of the Royal Borough to inspect the refurbishment works at Woolwich Tunnel. Lifts are the key in this tunnel, it having been without either lift for several years. In the south shaft the lift motor installation is complete and lift construction, all of it in situ, well advanced. All the tunnel lifts are custom-built though the Woolwich lifts will have steel doors with glass panels. These should be more resilient and will certainly be much lighter than the eye-catching but problem-prone glass doors at Greenwich.
Work has well underway on the north lift but attention has now switched to the reroofing of both entrances since neither lift can be opened until those are complete. The Woolwich entrances, unlike those at Greenwich, are not glazed but are wooden, clad in copper, supported by steel frames. Works are on schedule and when finished will allow both lifts to be commissioned and opened. The target finish is still April.
The tunnel itself is longer and wider than its sister in Greenwich. Its appearance is better though it too will be cleaned and lighting improved. Again the lighting will be increased from 40 to 150 lux which we were assured is in line with other foot tunnels. The lux scale is logarithmic so the planned increase is more like a doubling of ambient light than a quadrupling. It was accepted that, if considered too bright, the lights could be turned down and all should be soft (as in Greenwich) rather than hard white (as in Woolwich).
It is always surprising that a steady trickle of people use the tunnel, when there is the ferry alternative, even on a cold wet January afternoon. Let’s hope for even greater use when those Victorian stairs can be by-passed.
Ian Blore, 11th January 2014