North Wales tunnel’s ‘beep beep’ tradition

A decades-old tradition that drivers from Cheshire and beyond possibly mistook for a noisy tunnel is in fact something else entirely.

A55 Penmaenbach tunnel in Conwy

If you’re travelling from Cheshire to the North Wales coastline, you will most likely have driven down the A55. Known as North Wales’ busiest road, it was originally built to link Chester and Bangor alongside the railway work to upgrade the road started in the 1930s.

But decades ago, two workers reportedly lost their lives in the process. But their memory has always endured.

A lot of its history remains unknown, but workers involved in the project were brought in from elsewhere in North Wales and many were coal miners forced out of a job by the Great Depression. One man was reportedly told, “help dig the Penmanbach tunnel or lose your dole.”

In memory of both lives lost, decades on drivers from Cheshire and beyond have continued the tradition to ‘beep-beep’ when passing through, one beep for each soul.

When the tunnel was being constructed, we sadly lost 2 men to the building. Out of a mark of respect to them, the tunnel received 2 beeps from travellers as they passed through. This still continues today.

Some people who had always heard the beeps but had never known why were astonished to hear the deeper meaning.

In January 2022 it was revealed that the 658-metre-long Penmaenbach Tunnel was also named the best road tunnel in the UK for motorists to enjoy the sound of their cars. It topped their rankings, after being judged to provide the best acoustic environment to fully appreciate a car’s engine and exhaust sounds – a fitting shrine.


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