Drivers fume at chaos in tunnels
May 7 2008 by Luke Traynor, Liverpool Echo
TRAFFIC havoc hit both sides of the Mersey last night as a chemical fire and a suspected suicide caused commuter chaos in the tunnels.
Drivers faced huge tailbacks in Liverpool, Birkenhead and Wallasey as the Kingsway and Queensway routes were shut down.
The drama unfolded at 3.30pm after a blaze at an oil and solvents factory warehouse.
Up to 100 barrels, some containing 250 litres of solvents, were at the heart of the fire in New Chester Road, Tranmere.
Ten fire engines from Kirkdale, Liverpool city centre and Wirral were called to the Pack2Pack premises.
The processing area, a 30m x 20m building, went up in flames as workers were pouring oil and solvent residue from large barrels
Five teams of firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze.
About 40m square of roof cladding was damaged along with 20m of wall cladding.
Area manager Dan Stephens said the fire was quickly extinguished and damage was minimal.
To deal with the fire police closed off the north bound A41 before shutting down both lanes for about two hours.
Commuters in the Queensway tunnel were caught up in long traffic jams as police closed the exits to the A41 at the toll booths and diverted traffic.
Just over an hour later, at around 4.45pm, police were called to the entrance to the Kingsway tunnel after reports of a man falling from a bridge.
Paramedics attended the scene on the Wallasey side, near Wheatland Lane, where they discovered the body.
A doctor tried to save the man but he died from his injuries.
A police spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances.
footage will be checked but early indications are that the man, believed to be in his 30s, committed suicide.
The Liverpool-bound carriageway of the Kingsway tunnel was closed and a contraflow set up on the Wirral-bound side.
A Merseytravel spokesman said there had been a lot of congestion around the tunnels but they had done as much as they could to get traffic moving as quickly as possible.
The man’s death led to traffic chaos at peak time and caused gridlock in Liverpool city centre and Wallasey.