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Utility commences Thames tunnel work

Utility commences Thames tunnel work

One of the world’s largest gas and electricity utilities, National Grid, has started work on its biggest civil engineering project; a 330 m long tunnel under the River Thames.

The work is a critical part of National Grid UK’s project to future-proof London’s gas infrastructure, and includes work at historically famous sites such as the Royal Hospital Chelsea, Battersea Park, and excavations under the River Thames.

The project will be delivered by National Grid’s strategic partner tRIIO, which includes Mott McDonald and Skanska, and the utility’s £1 billion (US$1.27 billion) investment to replace ageing gas mains across London.

Engineers have prepared to excavate 30 m deep shafts at each of the land locations where a remotely operated micro-tunnel boring machine (TBM) will be used to dig the 330 m tunnel.

One 7.5 m diameter shaft will be located in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, a second shaft, with a 6 m diameter, will be constructed at Battersea Park.

The project team has liaised with more than 15 different organisations for planning permissions, including the Thames Tideway, to ensure there are no disruptions to neighbouring infrastructure.

National Grid Project Manager Andrew Hejdner said “We’re looking forward to getting started on the construction which has taken almost 12 months of planning.”

“Designing a tunnel 330 m long tunnel that runs 30 m under the River Thames is fairly straightforward in tunnelling terms, however to secure so many permissions and factor in Thames Tideway’s works in such a short space of time is an impressive undertaking.

“Our project team have done a fantastic job in designing the river crossing and securing the necessary permissions.”

Engineering Manager Stuart Donaldson said “This is quite a bit different to the average gas mains replacement scheme to say the least.

“However the purpose of this project is the same – keeping people connected to safe and reliable gas supplies for cooking and heating.”

“The project is going to leave a great legacy and help London maintain its status as a leading 21st century city.”

Tunnelling will start once the shafts have been completed and is expected to be finished in 2018, when the new intermediate pressure gas pipes will be installed.

For more information visit the National Grid website.

If you have a project you would like covered by Trenchless International contact Assistant Editor Nick Lovering at nlovering@gs-press.com.au

Images courtesy of National Grid UK

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