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Who said infrastructure was boring? Massive cylindrical digging machines are lowered into a crater the size of the dome at St Paul’s as work begins on London’s £4.2bn super-sewer

By Alexander Robertson For Mailonline 14:15 27 Apr 2018, updated 14:27 27 Apr 2018 ART1 Engineers have created a hole the size of St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome as work gets under way on London’s new £4.2billion ‘super sewer’ project ART2 ART3 The humongous hole at Battersea will allow workers to lower a pair of cylindrical boring machines into the sewer system as part of the 15-mile Thames Tideway Tunnel scheme ART4 Engineers have created a hole the size of St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome as work gets under way on London’s new £4.2billion ‘super sewer’ project. The humongous hole at Battersea will allow workers to lower a pair of cylindrical boring machines into the sewer system as part of the 15-mile Thames Tideway Tunnel scheme. Estimated to cost nearly half the cost of the 2012 Olympics, the project began in 2016 and is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry. It will stretch all the way from Acton in West London, along the general path of the River Thames, towards Limehouse where it will veer north-east to Abbey Mills Pumping Station near Stratford. Situated more than 200 feet below the river, and with a capacity of 1.6million cubic metres, the sewer is said to be needed to prevent an average of 55million tonnes of untreated sewage being discharged into the river each year. ART5 Ana Aser is pictured on site as the holes are prepared for tunnel boring machines for London’s super sewer in Vauxhall ART6ART7 Situated more than 200 feet below the river, and with a capacity of 1.6million cubic metres, the sewer is said to be needed to prevent an average of 55million tonnes of untreated sewage being discharged into the river each year ART8 Estimated to cost nearly half the cost of the 2012 Olympics, the project began in 2016 and is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken by the UK water industry ART9 Thames Water has insisted the multi-billion pound project is crucial to stop London returning to the days of the ‘Great Stink’ when the river acted as an open sewer. At the time, in the mid-1880s, residents complained of the smell from the river which was full of raw sewage. The problem was eventually solved by engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who built a 1,300 mile network of Victorian sewers to stop untreated sewage being pumped into the Thames. Built from three main construction sites in Fulham, Battersea and Southwark, the Thames Tideway Tunnel is expected to help treat some of the 55million tonnes of ‘overflow’ raw sewage which the current system cannot cope with. The new system will intercept the sewage before it enters the river and carefully treat it before pumping it back into the water in East London. ART10 ART12 Mike Appleton stands in front of one of the boring machines at Battersea ART11

  • 8 may, 2018
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