WITH the Tyne pedestrian and cyclist tunnels due to close for up to a year, a survey was held of numbers using the link at night.
But the exercise will have to be repeated because the survey coincided with the storms of June 28.
The number of users of the tunnel shot up as people abandoned cars or could not make it home on public transport.
This meant that the survey was not a true reflection of the normal usage of the listed tunnels.
The survey is part of an exercise to work out what alternative transport needs to be laid on for tunnel users.
The listed tunnels are expected to close in late October for so that a £4m refurbishment can be completed without risk to the public.
The refurbishment will include the replacement of two of the escalators with inclined lifts, conserving the remaining escalators in situ as features of historic interest, new lighting, and other improvements
Paul Fenwick, project director at the Tyne & Wear Integrated Transport Authority, is looking at measures to help shift workers during the year-long closure, but needs more information to decide exactly what alternatives to consider.
“Around 20,000 people use the tunnels every month, and many of those journeys are made by people going to and from their place of work,” he said.
“We will be putting on a free, time-tabled replacement bus service with a cycle trailer between the entrances to the tunnels between 6am and 8pm, seven days a week, during the closure. But we are aware that people use the tunnels outside of these times.
“It would not be affordable to keep this service running throughout the night so we are considering what other measures may practically be put in place to help shift workers.
“We are therefore asking shift workers to take part in a survey so we can gather information to help us decide the best possible options. I would urge all shift workers using the tunnels to take part. It is in their best interests.”
The consultation runs until Friday July 20. A questionnaire is available online at www.tynepedestrianandcyclisttunnels.co.uk
Employers who think their employees may be affected by the closure of the tunnels are also encouraged to contact TWITA via the tunnels website.