Tideway, the company building the 25km, 7.2m diameter super sewer tunnel under London’s River Thames, is restarting main tunnelling work after all but essential and safety-critical activities were put on hold at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown period.
In recent weeks, a series of detailed safety reviews has led the company and its contractors to implement measures to protect its workers and the wider community. The measures fit within the Construction Leadership Council’s guidance and official public health advice, and include social distancing and personal travel plans.
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Work is now taking place on 21 Tideway sites, including underground tunnelling from Fulham to Acton and tunnelling of the smaller Frogmore Connection Tunnel in Wandsworth.
Tideway CEO, Andy Mitchell, said: “It was absolutely right that we paused our activity at the start of the pandemic. Only by planning very carefully what activities are safe are we getting our teams back to work. Our measures have been developed with our workforce and contractors and are being introduced after detailed safety reviews of every one of our sites. The measures mean we are able to get more of our work back up and running, safely, minimising delays to this vital project and contributing to wider efforts to support the UK economy.”
Individual site travel plans have been drawn up to reduce the impact on the public transport network. With around 1000 staff expected to be working on site from this week, the majority will be using private transport, or walking or cycling. Those who are travelling by public transport will be avoiding peak times and following public health guidance. Tideway will be keeping all activities and the new measures under review, in collaboration with contractors and the wider workforce.
Those who can work from home will continue to do so.
Work on the 25km super sewer, which will run from Acton in west London to Stratford in east London, started in 2016. More than 14km of tunnel has now been constructed.
The Tunnel has been divided into three sections – east (5.5km long), west (7km long) and central (13km long) – with each section being constructed by a different joint venture of contractors.
The Central section by the Joint venture of Ferrovial Agroman UK and Laing O’Rourke Construction, and East section by the Joint venture of Costain, Vinci Construction Grands Projets and Bachy Soletanche.