Tunnel vision for University Science Parks


Construction of a two-mile tunnel began last Tuesday to provide an extra supply of electricity to the University Science Parks.

The project is being carried out by Scottish and Southern Energy and is estimated to take three-and-a-half months before completion.
The tunnel will connect a sub-station in Ferry Hinksey Road to labs in the science area and is expected to extend under the River Thames, Gloucester Street and St Giles.

According to University spokesman Jonathan Wood, expansion in the science area has necessitated the increased power supply.
“Due to a continuing increase in the number and types of buildings in the science area, and the variety of scientific work being undertaken, the current electrical supply is no longer sufficient to power the science area”, Wood said. “The work being undertaken is expected to provide sufficient electrical capacity for all future demand for the next 50 years.”

Residents in the Osney Island area of West Oxford are unhappy about the noise and disruption.
City councillor Susanna Pressell said: “The people are very upset about it” and that the work was “extremely noisy and disruptive.”
Residents are also concerned about a lack of parking space in the street due to space taken up by the construction works.
“Parking is always extremely tight”, Pressell said. “We are hopeful that the university may allow us to use this area for a car park the buildings are only being used for storage.”

Science students are aware of the difficulty posed by the building of the tunnel but are excited about the new improvements.
First year chemist Jack Hostick said: “From a student’s point of view, this is good news, as the research conducted here in the labs is very important and more power will certainly be beneficial.

“However, I understand that the project will cause difficulties for local residents, so I can certainly sympathise with the concerns they have.”
According to Wood, care is being taken so that the construction work causes as little disruption as possible.

He said: “The University is working with Scottish and Southern and the local council to minimise inconvenience to residents of Oxford.”

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