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Thames tunnel breakthrough

Civil engineering specialist Barhale has completed construction of a 330m tunnel under the River Thames for a new gas pipe.

The tunnelling, part of gas distributor Cadent’s £1bn infrastructure programme, took more than three weeks and saw around 4,500m3 of material excavated.

Barhale sunk two 30m shafts for the project, one in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the other south of the river in Battersea Park.

New Civil Engineer visited the project in October.

Cadent project manager Andrew Hejdner said: “This is a key infrastructure project. It’s a major commitment by Cadent and will guarantee gas supplies and help ensure that London remains one of the world’s leading cities.”

The tunnel boring machine was controlled remotely by an above-ground operator.

Barhale contracts manager Ovi Frunza said: “As the tunnel was the deepest pipejack ever attempted under the River Thames, specific measures were put in place to mitigate for the ground conditions and confined environment of working in central London.”

Chelsea Pensioners, army veterans who live at the Royal Hospital Chelsea retirement home, named the tunnel boring machine before it was lowered into the shaft in the hospital grounds. It was named after hospital business manager Amanda Lord who has worked at the hospital since 2009.

Chelsea Pensioner Tom Mullaney said: “Amanda is a well-loved member of staff and does a lot to support us as Pensioners.

“I thought she would be delighted to be nominated by the pensioner community as she is always in the background never in the fore and deserves recognition. One thing I do have to clarify is that she’s certainly not boring.”

A joint venture of Skanska and Mott McDonald is working as Cadent’s strategic partner on the project. 

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