If you’ve ever wondered why the Southwick Hill Tunnel seems to be closed every night, then you are definitely not alone.
One of the most common views along the A27 is a large electronic sign that reads “TUNNEL CLOSED THIS WEEKEND 10 PM-6AM”.
The tunnel, just outside of Worthing and above Shoreham, has always attracted gossip and rumor since it opened in 1996.
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It has been the subject of news reports, internet forums, ad discussions and pretty much everything in between.
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At 490 meters long, the Southwick Hill Tunnel allows people to travel easily from West to East Sussex.
According to Highways England, most of the time the tunnel closes to allow for “planned road works” or “routine maintenance work”.
However, some residents of Sussex remain skeptical.
Although the radio signal is available in a number of UK tunnels (like Dartford), the Southwick tunnel is a complete radio black spot, leaving some to assume that the radio signals in the tunnel have been blocked.
Despite the very regular closures, there is almost never a reverse flow system allowing only one lane of traffic to pass through the tunnel; it is still completely sealed.
Beyond the road workers setting up cones to block the road, there are rarely maintenance crews or machinery in sight. Just like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, no one ever enters and no one ever leaves.
All of this has led to some pretty wild conspiracy theories.
A nuclear bunker?
A popular theory about Southwick Hill is that it hides a secret nuclear bunker.
The theory is that, thanks to Southwick Hill’s proximity to London and excellent links along the south coast via the A27, powerful and elite people will take refuge inside the hill in the event of an attack. nuclear.
Whether a relatively small hill is enough to protect a nuclear explosion is another question, but the theory persists.
The tunnel is absolutely lined with gates (one every ten meters or so) leading up the hill, with no indication of their destination.
There’s also an extra-large door panel – perhaps to allow entry for large government vehicles, some theorists say.
However, this version of events wouldn’t really explain why the tunnel is closed all the time.
An army command center?
Along with the idea of ââthe nuclear bunker, Southwick Hill is a key secret military base.
It is not clear why the government should meet under a hill and not, say, in an office.
However, this particular theory has been discussed at length – with Worthing-based author Graham Lelliott adding fuel to the fire.
He has previously explored the possibility of the hill being some sort of military base, pointing out the seemingly unnecessary number of doors and the tunnel’s all-too-frequent closure.
Regular tunnel closures would allow personnel to enter and exit the base, or perhaps restock food and supplies in the tunnel.
Again you have to question the need for a top secret hill base in Sussex.
Just a poorly constructed tunnel?
Trivial perhaps, but there are still plots when it comes to engineering the hill itself.
Browsing online forums, many people claim to know the brother of a first cousin of a man who worked on the tunnel.
Many say the original tunnel design was flawed and the tunnel needs regular maintenance or it could collapse.
Weststander, a user of the North Stand Chat forum in Brighton, said in 2020: âA former colleague who had an engineering client who had worked on the tunnel said the original design and construction was flawed. To infinity.”
However, forum user Westdene Seagull had a different theory: “When it was first built there were rumors that the tunnels were built too small which traps fumes more easily and therefore requires a more regular replacement of filters. “
Who can tell what is really the truth?