A new pier has been launched in the heart of London after months of challenging construction work on the River Thames.
Tideway – the company behind the 25km Thames Tideway Tunnel – built the new Blackfriars pier to enable passengers to continue using river transport and access the embankment while work to construct the tunnel is undertaken nearby.
Dubbed the “super sewer”, the tunnel will increase the capacity of London’s predominantly Victorian sewerage network to meet demands of a rapidly growing population.
Tideway said that work to build the pier started in November 2015, with the first step in construction to reinforce the river wall to the east of Blackfriars Bridge, the site of the new pier. Six metal supports, weighing more than 40t each, were then transported by sea from Italy and pushed up to 23m into the riverbed to create an anchor for the new pontoon.
The 84m long pier was towed by sea from Holland and installed in its new home before being officially opened to the public.
“The new pier at Blackfriars is the first physical clue of our work to build the Thames Tideway Tunnel in the heart of the city of London,” said Tideway delivery manager Andy Alder.
“This was a huge task with many challenges, including co-ordinating the arrival of materials from Holland and Italy by sea, building in the river alongside changing tides and working safely around the weather. The opening of the new pier on schedule is a testament to the dedication and hard work of the team, and the many stakeholders we have worked with.
“With the new pier in position, we are now able to start our main works at Blackfriars to prevent pollution and clean up our river for future generations.”
Transport for London director of service operations Peter Blake said: “Thanks to Tideway we now have a brand new, purpose built pier at Blackfriars. This is a great development and allows us to berth two boats simultaneously, meaning even more passengers can now use the river.”