Investigations into the condition of an aqueduct that supplies fresh water to 2M people across Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester are set to get underway to determine whether the replacementare set to get underway to determine whether an £800M refurbishment of the water tunnels should go ahead.
United Utilities is gearing up for further investigations along the route of the Haweswater Aqueduct, a 90km underground aqueduct that draws water from the lake district to supply Manchester.
The investigations come as United Utilities considers the best solution to replace six of the tunnel sections along the route during the summer. A spokesperson for United Utilities said that the company was currently engaging with the market to allow the opportunity for further innovation in terms of the development of the engineering solution.
The aqueduct tunnels were inspected by United Utilities engineers – nicknamed aquanauts – in 2013 and 2015, which revealed that parts of the structure, which is approaching 80 years old in places, is coming towards the end of its life.
A United Utilities spokesperson said that concerns about the quality of the original concrete were simply “due to the age of the concrete” and would be addressed as part of the future refurbishment.
Some sections of tunnel are up to 19km long and deep underground.
Work on the aqueduct began in 1935 and was completed in 1955. The project gained some infamy due to the creation of the Haweswater Reservoir which feeds the aqueduct. The flooding of the valley of Mardale to create the reservoir led to hundreds of people being forced from their homes, and two villages being demolished by the Royal Engineers.
Ecology surveys are already underway and ground surveys will be carried out this summer with the main public engagement for the project planned between 2020 to 2022. Construction work would begin in 2023 and is expected to be completed in 2028.
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