Reconstruction of the Victorian Connaught Tunnel for reuse by Crossrail has been completed ahead of schedule enabling the Royal Docks to be reopened.
Cofferdams that were installed in the dock to allow access to the crown of the tunnel have now been removed in time for the dock to be used to allow ships to access the Excel exhibition centre for a bi-annual defence show.
The cofferdam construction was timed to take place after Excel hosted a boat show in January but the work needed to be completed before the defence exhibition which opens on 10 September.
“It was a race against the clock to get the work completed and the dock re-flooded, so it’s great news that we’ve got it finished ahead of schedule,” said Crossrail Connaught Tunnel project manager Linda Miller. “It’s been a fantastic effort by the whole team to get the job done safely, quickly and effectively.”
The work was necessary because deepening of the dock in the 1930 had been carried out by constructing additional brick and steel sections where the tunnel passes through the base of the dock. With the cofferdam in place, these structures have been removed and replaced with new concrete sections to widen the tunnel to match the rest of the bore.