Tunnel takes top London award
Tunnel takes top London award Mar 2009

Members of the project team accept the award

An under river crossing of the Thames for the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) extension to Woolwich Arsenal was selected the London Merit Award for Infrastructure by the ICE, Institution of Civil Engineers. The twin tube 2.5km long railway crossing was completed recently by AMEC (taken over mid-project by the Morgan Est construction group) using a 6m diameter LOVAT EPBM.
Developed as a PFI (private finance initiative), the Woolwich Arsenal Rail Enterprises (WARE) concessionaire, comprising Land Securities and the Royal Bank of Scotland, has a 30 year concession to design, build, finance, and maintain the £180 million ($US267 million) rail infrastructure to 2035. In mid 2005, the design-build contract to AMEC with contract lead designer Halcrow. London Mayor, Boris Johnson inaugurated the completed project in January 2009, two months earlier than programmed.

First drive breakthrough

The two 5.3m i.d. segmentally lined running tunnels were completed over a 15 month period from April 2006 to July 2007. En route, the LOVAT EPBM had to master complex geological conditions including sands, gravels and fissured flint-embedded chalk all under hydrostatic pressures of up to 3.5 bar. Peter South, Director with AMEC during progress of the contract, paid tribute to the tunnelling crews that “stuck with it” through some difficult times and achieved a best of 14 x 1.5m wide rings in a 12h shift and best weeks of more than 87 rings or 135m.
What impressed judges most, according to the presentation announcement, was the quality of the scheme and the fact it was designed, built and commissioned by a totally coordinated team responsible for its future. Robert Sharpe, chair of the judging panel, said: “The award recipients had all excelled in delivering projects which combine a commitment to innovation, creativity and social value with a culture of safety and sustainability. I congratulate them all for demonstrating the important contribution that civil engineers make to London.”


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