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Circle Line work incomplete due to 'logistical problems'

NEWS

CIRCLE LINE strengthening works, due to be completed during a nine- week closure, are likely to be unfinished when London Underground reopens a key section of track on Monday, one week late.

The work should have involved the installation of 44 complex 'aerofoil' section steel beams designed to support an understrength Victorian tunnel roof between Gloucester Road and High Street Kensington. But a London Transport spokesman admitted this week that most of the beams would not be in position by Monday because of 'logistical problems'.

The spokesman added that the roof was safe because understrength cast iron roof beams had been temporarily reinforced with carbon fibre reinforced plastic plates before the main works began (NCE 22 March).

Reopening the track itself was delayed by torrential thunderstorms eight weeks into the contract. These caused a sewer running close below the Circle Line tracks to burst, flooding the site with 300mm of dilute sewage.

'We could have completed the trackwork in time to reopen a day late,' the LT spokesman said. 'But starting with a new timetable on a Tuesday morning would have been a nightmare, so we decided it would be better to reopen on a Monday as planned.'

Problems with positioning the beams, which have to be lifted on to their supports in two sections and joined together insitu, had been anticipated. Sections weigh more than 3t each, and off site rehearsals were planned. Now the work will have to be completed during weekend engineering hours and could drag on for months.

The work is being carried out on an alliancing basis with Mowlem Southern and is a Movement For Innovation demonstration project. A spokesman insisted that there was no question of LU meeting the costs of the delays.

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