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How to drive safely through the Mersey Tunnels and what to do if you experience a problem while driving through.


Please Note: You cannot walk through either of the Mersey Tunnels. You may cycle through the Queensway (Birkenhead) Tunnel at certain times. Please check Byelaw 9 for times.

What to do before entering the Tunnel:

Check your fuel level
Turn on your radio
Use dipped headlights
Observe and obey signals. Never drive in a lane closed by a red X
Height/width/weight restrictions: Birkenhead Tunnel (Queensway) maximum 3.9m in height, 2.7m in width and 3.5 tonnes weight limit. Wallasey Tunnel (Kingsway) maximum 5m in height, 2.9m in width and 44 tonnes weight limit

What to do inside the Tunnel:

Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. You should maintain a minimum 2 second gap and HGVs a 4 second gap
Do not overtake in the Tunnel
Do not change lane in the Tunnel
Do not turn or reverse
Do not stop, except in an emergency
Observe the speed limit. Birkenhead Tunnel (Queensway) max 30mph, min 10mph. Wallasey Tunnel (Kingsway) max 40mph, min 10mph

Dangerous goods

Dangerous Goods Category D. Mersey Tunnels have been classified as Category D tunnels under the ADR regulations. It is the direct responsibility of the haulier to comply with the ADR regulations. For more information click here.


If you have any queries regarding this or are wishing to transport dangerous goods which are not included above please see here for details of the category or alternatively contact Mersey Tunnels Police on 0300 3000 999 (recorded line) for clarification. 

Any vehicle that is conveying a substance covered by the ADR Regulations must stop at the designated Police Declaration points prior to entering the Mersey Tunnels and the driver is to declare to Mersey Tunnels Police the nature and quantity of that substance. 

For the avoidance of doubt failure to declare is a contravention of the Mersey Tunnels Byelaws and the driver may be reported and summonsed for contravening Section 7 of the Mersey Tunnels Byelaws (Dangerous Goods, Vehicles or Containers). 

Mersey Tunnels Byelaws (PDF,60.0KB)

What to do in traffic congestion:


Keep your distance, even if you are moving slowly or have stopped. Keep at least 2.75m from the car in front on stopping (Byelaw 3(n))
Obey the “KEEP CLEAR” (yellow box) areas
Switch off your engine if you are told to do so
Listen to messages on your radio or over the public address system and follow the instructions given by Mersey Tunnels Police

What to do in the event of a breakdown or accident: 

Switch on your hazard warning lights
Switch off your engine
Call for help from a telephone at the emergency points every 50m along the Tunnel
If necessary (and if possible), give help to injured people
Do not enter the Tunnel if the barriers are down

What to do if a vehicle is on fire: 

Drive out of the Tunnel if this is possible
If that is not possible, stop, switch off your engine and leave the vehicle immediately
Call for help from a telephone at the emergency points every 50m along the Tunnel
Put out the fire with the fire extinguishers if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, evacuate the Tunnel immediately

Emergency points: 

These are located every 50m along the Tunnel and are marked by illuminated signs. Emergency points are for use in the event of an accident or emergency and are equipped with:  

  • Emergency telephones 
  • Fire extinguishers 

If there is a fire in the Tunnel, raise the alarm and call for help from one of the telephones. If it is safe to do so, use the fire extinguishers to put out the fire. If it is not safe, leave your car unlocked and leave the Tunnel. 

Evacuating the Tunnel:

Public Address System. There are speakers located throughout the Tunnel. In the event of an incident, listen to any announcements and follow the instructions given. If you are told to leave your vehicle, do so immediately
Escape lighting. If you are told to evacuate the tunnel, flashing arrows will guide you away from the incident to the Tunnel exit
Distance to exit signs. The distance to the entrance or exit is shown on signs every 25m along both walls of the Tunnel
Emergency Exits. If it is not possible to escape along the roadway, emergency exits can be found along the walkway at the side of the Tunnel. These exits lead to passages and steps connecting with the adjacent tunnel in Wallasey Tunnel (Kingsway) and to refuges in Birkenhead Tunnel (Queensway)
Tunnel Lighting. Lighting will remain on if there is an emergency
Ventilation Systems. The tunnels have ventilation systems to keep the air flowing through the Tunnels. If there is a fire, the system is used to control the smoke in the Tunnel
Traffic Surveillance. The tunnels are monitored by CCTV cameras 24 hours a day. Both tunnels are also regularly patrolled by Mersey Tunnels Police who are trained in fire and evacuation procedures
Traffic Radio. Turn on your radio before entering the Tunnel. If there is an incident, announcements can be broadcast on your radio by Mersey Tunnels Police. Follow any instructions they give you
Smoke and fire can kill. Save your life, not your vehicle

Additional information

General Mersey Tunnels enquires

0300 131 2881

Mersey Tunnels Police enquiries

0300 3000 999


Tunnels updates