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Scottish Water bores under railway

Scottish Water has used a microtunnel boring machine (MTBM) to excavate under a railway near Kilmarnock to install a new water main in phase two of a £120 million (US$159.7 million) water supply investment project.

Scottish Water’s alliance partner, Caledonia Water Alliance, used a 9 m long hydraulically-operated MTBM to excavate 132 m, 1,500 mm diameter concrete tunnel under the Kilmarnock to Dumfries railway line, preventing disruption to the community.

The MTBM installed 53, 2.5 m long concrete rings to house the last 21 km stretch of water main from main from the Amlaird Water Treatment Works in the Fenwick and Waterside to Highlees district service reservoir in East Ayrshire, achieving rate of 4 to 9 m/d.


During operations, up to eight engineers worked with the MTBM at any one time, monitoring excavation, installing the tunnel and water main, and using laser technology to monitor subsidence from ground level.

Tunnelling works were undertaken by HB Tunnelling, a specialist contractor servicing main contractors and utility companies within the water, oil and gas industries.

“We are continuing to make good progress with the project and this latest piece of work to install the tunnel was a very important part of that,” said Senior Construction Manager Sean Lavin.

“We are delighted to have completed the work under the railway, which involved a lot of careful planning and close liaison with Network Rail and Scottish Water Special Services, who deal with land, environmental and planning issues.

“We carried out detailed site investigation work, including the drilling of vertical boreholes to analyse the geology before the tunnelling started, and some intricate work using hi-tech equipment to construct the tunnel and install this stretch of the new water main.”

The MTBM breaking through at Kilmarnock.

The construction of the new strategic water main, which is expected to be completed in 2020, will connect the Bradan water supply network to the network served by the Milngavie and Balmore water treatment works, north of Glasgow.

The work, which started on 30 April 2018, was completed ahead of schedule.

For more information visit the Scottish Water website.

If you have news you would like included in Trenchless International contact Journalist Chloe Jenkins at cjenkins@gs-press.com.au

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