MERSEY Tunnel users are being warned to expect major disruption when Wirral loop line track renewal work start in the New Year.

Network Rail is replacing the most challenging sections of concrete based track in the Liverpool 'loop' – originally laid in the 1970s - and carrying out other work, including replacing conventional track under the riverbed.

The work will take place day and night from January 3 to June 18. For the first six weeks there will be no trains between Wirral and Liverpool.

Motorists are being are being warned that the Birkenhead and Wallasey tunnels are likely to be a lot busier for the first six weeks of the year, when there will be no cross-river rail services, and are advised to travel out of peak times where possible or to allow more time for their journeys and plan in advance.

Meanwhile, rail users are being encouraged to stick to public transport – express rail replacement services, existing cross-river buses and the Mersey Ferries to help keep the tunnels and surrounding routes flowing.

Wayne Menzies, chair of Liverpool City Region's major events transport board and head of Rail at Merseytravel, said: "Wirral line rail users will be well aware of the impact the track renewal work will have on their journeys, but regular tunnel users may not be aware that it’s likely to have an impact on their journeys too.

"Encouraging rail users to stick to public transport, and regular tunnel users to consider when they travel, can help manage the flow of traffic through the tunnels for everyone's benefit, including those on express rail replacement or cross-river bus services."

Merseytravel have issued the following advice for regular tunnel users:

  • Look to travel at non-peak times where possible and allow extra time for your journey.
  • Ensure that your car is winter-ready to avoid any potential breakdown in the tunnels which would cause disruption and delays to all motorists
  • If you don't have one already, apply for a Fast Tag. As well as saving you money on each tunnel journey, it will assist in managing traffic flow through the toll plazas.
  • If you are a road haulier/delivery firm, discuss with businesses and organisations that contract your services whether deliveries or pick-ups can be rescheduled to avoid travel through the tunnels at peak periods.