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Thames Tideway Tunnel now fully built after final lid lifted into place


Work to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel - the London’s super sewer - including its tunnels and shafts, is now fully complete following the lifting of a giant, 24m-wide circular concrete ‘lid’ over the shaft at Abbey Mills Pumping Station in Stratford, in east London.

  •  Underground construction on the super sewer is now complete
  • Tunnel will dramatically reduce sewage pollution into Thames
  • ‘Commissioning’ phase to begin soon, ahead of full operation in 2025

Using a purpose-built gantry crane and other manoeuvring equipment, the lid was lifted into place over the course of around 5 hours. 

The manoeuvre represents the heaviest lift on the super sewer project – even surpassing the lifting of Tideway’s six TBMs early in the programme. 

The shaft at Abbey Mills is the deepest on the project at 70 m - and is the point at which the super sewer connects to the Lee Tunnel, which was completed in 2016. 

The Thames Tideway Tunnel, is a 25km-long sewage tunnel designed to reduce sewage pollution in the central London River Thames.

In a typical year, tens of millions of tonnes of storm sewage spill into the River Thames. Once fully operational, the new infrastructure will reduce those spills almost completely.

After eight years the underground civil engineering on the Tideway project is now complete. Now the project is closer than ever to its ultimate goal of improving the health of the Thames – after a 1,200-t concrete lid was lifted on top of a deep shaft in Stratford. Some above-ground structures need to be finished and, the system has to be tested. 

Tideway, the company building the super sewer, has now built the full 25km, 7.2m-wide main tunnel, a 4.5km connection tunnel in south-east London, and a 1.1km tunnel in south-west London. 

Next, Tideway will begin the process of ‘commissioning’ the system – ensuring the new infrastructure functions as designed – before looking ahead to bringing it into full operation in 2025. This will likely begin over the summer, when live storm sewage flows will be diverted into the new infrastructure – essentially protecting the River Thames for the first time. 

Tideway is also continuing its architecture and landscaping works at various sites along the route of the tunnel, including Blackfriars, Victoria and Chelsea.

These sites will soon be home to completely new areas of public realm, reclaimed from the Thames, offering an entirely new vantage point of the city.

For further information please visit the tunnelbuilder archive by clicking here and uk/54. Visit https://www.tideway.london/. 13/24.