First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer

Balfour Beatty, alongside its joint venture partners Morgan Sindall and BAM Nuttall has seen one of its two tunnelling boring machines (TBM) become the first to break through the ground to complete a section of tunnel for London’s new super sewer.
First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer First tunnelling machine breaks ground on London super sewer

Tunnel boring machine, Charlotte, breaking through on the Frogmore Connection Tunnel from Wandsworth to Fulham for London's super sewer

The TBM named Charlotte, after suffragist Charlotte Despard, is digging the Frogmore Connection Tunnel from Wandsworth to Fulham as part of the Thames Tideway Tunnel project to clean up the River Thames from sewage pollution.

The 1.1km tunnel will take sewage overflows from King George's Park into the main 25km super sewer at Fulham, where it will be transferred to East London for treatment instead of polluting the River Thames.

The 500m southern section of the Frogmore Connection Tunnel, from Dormay Street to King George's Park, is now complete. Charlotte will now be lifted from the shaft, taken back to Dormay Street and placed back into the ground to tunnel 600m north to Fulham.

"This breakthrough, the first on the Tideway project, marks another key step toward a cleaner, healthier River Thames," said project manager Sally Cox. "Despite being the smallest TBM on the Tideway project, Charlotte is creating vital infrastructure that will benefit Londoners and their river for many years to come.

"Our tunnelling team has done a fantastic job getting this machine to King George's Park and will now focus on completing the northern section of the Frogmore Connection Tunnel."

Charlotte is a 3m-wide machine and more than 70m long, while the Frogmore Connection Tunnel is being created at a depth of around 30m.

The TBM has been refurbished and previously worked on a water ring-main project in north London.

The first section of the main tunnel is also close to completion, as tunnelling machine Millicent approaches Fulham after tunnelling almost 5km from Battersea. So far, 8km of the Thames Tideway Tunnel has been built, with four tunnelling machines in the ground.

Once complete in 2024, the tunnel will help stop tens of millions of tonnes of raw sewage pouring into the river every year.

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