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Video | Tunnel engineers’ extraordinary commute

Scottish Water, Shieldhall Tunnel

Scottish Water has released a video which shows the daily life of engineers working on the £100M Shieldhall Tunnel in the south of Glasgow.

Source: Scottish Water

The first third of the 5km long route has now been completed, with engineers working on the tunnel boring machine (TBM) day and night.

The TBM called Daisy the Driller works at depths of up to 32m and travels at speeds of 30m per day. It has 25 cutters on its wheel, moving at about 2mm per minute. Operators work in teams of eight to operate it.

Engineers from the Costain-Vinci Construction Grands Projets joint venture (CVJV), which is constructing the tunnel, work in 12 hours shifts between 7am and 7pm, when the night shift takes over, for five days per week. The entry point for the tunnel is a 20m deep shaft down four flights of stairs.

When the tunnel is completed, around 250,000t of excavated material will have come out this way. In addition, more than 18,000 pre-cast concrete segments, each weighing 2.5t, will have been installed. In total six concrete wedges need to be laid to create one ring, with the team aiming to lay about 24 rings per day. The tunnel will be completed later this year.

“I enjoy working in tunnels and, although it’s a challenge carrying out very technical work in these conditions, it’s one I relish and enjoy every day,” said engineer Tom Rushe, 25.

“You quickly get used to the confined space and we have everything we need down here for working long shifts – including a kitchen and toilet.

“Getting to my current ‘place of work’ is certainly quite different to what most people do every morning above ground. But I would never want a conventional office job. Building tunnels is cool and I really wouldn’t swap it for anything.”

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