London super sewer western tunnel break through

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The main tunnel drive has been completed in the new London super sewer Thames Tideway has been completed.

The giant tunnel boring machine Rachel has completed its gentle uphill 7km drive breaking into the shaft at Tideway’s site in Acton London today.

Three-way joint venture contractors, BAM Nuttall, Morgan Sindall and Balfour Beatty, lowered TBM Rachel 35m into the ground to begin tunnelling in May 2019 from Carnwarth Road in Fulham.

Working a total of nearly 1,100 shifts, around 200 staff have worked on the western section of the tunnel, with Tideway’s use of the river to remove 725,000 tonnes of spoil and bring in concrete segments keeping around 25,000 lorries off the road.

Neil Binns, Senior Project Manager, commented saying: “Having broken through at Acton Storm Tanks, it’s easy to forget the time and effort that goes into making all this possible.

“From designing and manufacturing the TBM, to providing logistics support for its delivery by river, to the above-ground operation, as well as the skill of the tunnelling team – this is a fantastic achievement and a wonderful example of the teamwork required to clean up the River Thames.”