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Lucille TBM breaks through in Belfast

Tunnel boring machine (TBM) Lucille made a successful breakthrough in Belfast, Northern Ireland (after GE May went to press) having tunnelled through about a 1km long section of sewer tunnel.

The 540t TBM's breakthrough completes the longest stretch of the Belfast Sewers Project, a £100M upgrade of the city's 19th century sewer network. The work is being carried out by Morgan Est and joint venture partner Farrans (Construction) for Northern Ireland Water.

The project boasts an almost 10km, 4m wide stormwater drainage tunnel that will be completed in 2009. The joint venture has been contracted to design, build, test and commission tunnels under Belfast city centre, terminating at Duncrue Wastewater Treatment Works.

The scheme also includes the construction of a 16m3/s capacity terminal pumping station – claimed to be the largest of its kind in Northern Ireland – at the wastewater treatment works, as well as a 9000m3 stormwater tank and marine outfall.

Morgan Est project manager Paul Ronicle said: "The modernisation will improve water quality and reduce the risks of sewer flooding in the greater Belfast area."

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