Lights Replaced in Edgbaston Tunnel

New lights in Edgbaston tunnel

138 days after the lights in the tunnel at Edgbaston went out, they have been replaced.

It took persistent badgering of councillors by Push Bikes, particularly Tahir Ali, who seemed annoyed that someone was determinedly complaining about having to cycle along a very narrow path through an unlit tunnel, even though that path is Birmingham's idea of a strategic cycle route and takes traffic off the overloaded A38. Apparently it required negotiation and the seeking of funding.

Responsibility for the maintenance lay fairly and squarely with the council; there was even a sign at the tunnel portals with a Birmingham City Council phone number to be used in the event of the lights going out. Tahir Ali is responsible for the department that should have simply got on with the job when the old lighting system finally failed (having given warning of its perilous state by failing a few years ago). Birmingham has been given government (Cycling Cities Ambition Grant, CCAG) funding to build cycling infrastructure, but having spent some of it, it is now just sitting on a substantial chunk of it. This was just yet another example of Birmingham city councillors trying to avoid addressing problems.

However, the badgering paid off. Once the council agreed to spend some of its CCAG pot of money, the engineering team given the task of replacing the lights did a brilliant job. The system uses the very latest LED technology to all but eliminate maintenance for many years to come (responsibility for which is being passed to the Canals and Rivers Trust). The sixteen obsolete 70W lights have been replaced with an equal number of 30W LED units from local company Candela, the reduction in electrical power representing an improvement in efficiency.  The luminaires direct the light so it falls where it is needed, not on to the water, into people's eyes, or along the length of the canal beyond the portals. Such an arrangement has a large effect on efficiency, and reduces sky glow. The lights are fed from two cables so the tunnel does not go completely dark if one circuit fails, and there is an option to add a dimmer in the feed box to reduce the light contrast between inside and outside the tunnel at night.