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Tue August 09 2022

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First TBM breaks through for south London power tunnels

27 Jun Construction of National Grid’s London Power Tunnels south of the river reached a key landmark last week with completion of a 6.7km tunnel drive from Hurst to Eltham.

The team celebrates the break through in Hurst
The team celebrates the break through in Hurst

A 140-tonne Herrenknecht tunnel boring machine began its journey at the London Power Tunnels (LPT) site in Hurst in July 2021. She broke through in Eltham  on 21st June 2022.

This is one of four TBMs on the £1bn project to put London electricity cables up to 50 metres deep underground the streets of south London. The other three continue their tunnelling work.

In total, 32.5km of three-metre diameter tunnels are being constructed between Wimbledon and Crayford in what is phase two of the project.

Phase one was completed in 2018. That was a seven-year, £1bn programme building 32km of tunnels and two substations in north London.

National Grid says that LPT phase two is currently under-budget and on time to complete in 2027.

National Grid project director Gareth Burden said: “After close to a year of tunnelling, it is exciting to see the first connection between sites. The team has worked so hard to make this happen, in the face of tough ground conditions. Thanks to Hochtief Murphy Joint Venture (HMJV), Herrenknecht, our engineers, fitters, miners and everyone else involved. A special thanks also goes to the Joseph Gallagher Limited gangs who put in some hard yards down in the tunnel. It’s great to take a moment to celebrate with them and see the flags and kits proudly on display.”

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