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Power tunnel drives halfway to completion

Work on constructing 33km of tunnels for a new National Grid electricity network below London has reached the midway point with one of the tunnel boring machines completing the first part of its drive.

Contractor Costain has announced the 4m diameter Herrenknecht TBM, named Cleopatra, has successfully driven the first 8km of its route from Haringey to St Johns Substation.

The TBM will be used to drive a further 5km of tunnels on the new network that will connect tunnels between Hackney and Willesden and between Kensal Green and Wimbledon.

Another TBM – a 3m diameter Lovat machine named Evelyn – has already completed tunnels from Willesden to National Grid’s Channel Gate Road site and from Willesden to St John’s Wood and is now work on another tunnel from Wandsworth to Wimbledon.

“This breakthrough [of Cleopatra] is the culmination of nearly 18 months’ work for the entire team and demonstrates Costain’s ability to design, engineer and deliver projects that meet national needs,” said Costain project manager Andy Firth.

“While the team is celebrating this success, this flagship project for National Grid has another 16km of tunnel to be completed and the team is already in the process of addressing this challenge and delivering the next milestone.”

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